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NACWA Urges Increased Federal Investment in Water Infrastructure at Key House Committee Hearing

February 23, 2021

February 23, 2021                                                                   

Media Contact:­
David Zielonka | Manager, Media and Communications
(202) 981-3786 | dzielonka@nacwa.org                                                         

(Washington, D.C.) – Tuesday morning, before the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee’s Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, leading experts testified regarding the state of America’s wastewater infrastructure. National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Board Member, Oluwole (OJ) McFoy, General Manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority, testified regarding the greater need for federal investment in the public water sector.

During his remarks, McFoy connected the current federal underinvestment in public clean water infrastructure to myriad other economic issues affecting cities like Buffalo such as affordability challenges, as well as issues of environmental justice and climate change. Importantly, he noted the sharp decrease over time in federal investment in water infrastructure. At the time of the Clean Water Act’s signing in 1972 about 75% of the cost of clean water was covered by the federal government and this has decreased to less than 5% today, highlighting the need for significant new investment.

Adam Krantz, Chief Executive Officer of NACWA, issued the following statement:

“NACWA thanks Mr. McFoy for his testimony on behalf of the nation’s public clean water sector. As he noted, after years of decreased investment by the federal government, countless communities like Buffalo are now forced to pay for increasingly costly critical water infrastructure upgrades almost exclusively through local ratepayers who are often struggling to pay their basic bills.

“NACWA fully supports McFoy’s calls for substantial federal increases in clean water investment, including additional funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act programs, as well as the establishment of a new federal low-income water assistance program.” 

Oluwole McFoy, General Manager of the Buffalo Sewer Authority, issued the following statement:

“I wish to thank Committee Chairs Peter Defazio, and Grace Napolitano, as well as Ranking Members Sam Graves and David Rouzer for inviting me to testify on this critical issue. I can speak confidently for myself, the City of Buffalo, and public clean water utilities nationwide, in saying to Congress that we can no longer go it alone.

“The households we serve in Buffalo and around the country deserve a strong federal funding partner. Families and businesses should feel secure in knowing that together, along with our federal partner, we are doing all that we can to ensure that their hometown will stay an economically viable and environmentally friendly place for generations to come where clean water services are safe and reliable.

“Our committed staff and personnel who operate our treatment plants 24 hours a day deserve to know that the federal government has their interests in mind and is willing to put resources behind them to help ensure success. With the federal government as our partner, there is no reason why we cannot breathe vitality back into Buffalo, and cities and towns just like it all across America.”

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About NACWA

For 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation’s recognized leader in advancing sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. NACWA seeks to fulfill this mission through its national recognition/awards program, its clean water advocacy and communications, and its peer-to-peer utility network to share best practices from coast-to-coast. For more information, visit us at www.nacwa.org.

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