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Senate Releases Appropriations Bills with Key Clean Water Funding

October 20, 2021

Nearly three months after passage of the House Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill, and over two weeks into the new fiscal year, this week the Senate released its version of the bill, which provides annual funding for U.S. EPA and its core clean water programs.

Overall, the Senate bill (and accompanying Explanatory Statement) provides:

  • $10.5 billion for EPA’s overall budget, $1.3 billion above current level but less that the $11.34 billion proposed in the House bill;
  • $1.689 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), $50 million above the current level $1.639 level and above the base $1.634 House level;
  • $56 million for Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Control Grants, $16 million above current enacted level and $4 million less than House bill;
  • $439 million for Congressionally Directed Spending (earmarks) for community drinking water and wastewater/stormwater infrastructure projects, $10 million more than the House level;
  • $5 million for the Water Workforce Infrastructure grants program, same as the House bill and $2 million increase over enacted levels;
  • $80 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, including $5 million for the more recently created State infrastructure financing authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program and $8 million for administrative expenses, same as the House bill and a $15 million increase over enacted levels; and
  • Up to $1.5 million under the CWSRF to be used to conduct the Clean Watersheds Needs Survey. 

The bill also includes increased funding for EPA’s Geographic Programs and environmental justice grants, as well as funding for the Agency’s ongoing regulatory work on PFAS.

Unlike past years, the FY22 Senate appropriations bills were released in a more partisan manner after Democrat and Republican members of the committee could not agree to overall FY22 topline spending levels. The Senate bills are not expected to be voted on in committee or before the full chamber and instead work is now beginning with the House on crafting a final FY22 appropriations package that can pass prior to the expiration of federal funding under the current Continuing Resolution (CR) on December 3rd.

Furthermore, like the House bill, the Senate bill does not include funding for the new key water programs authorized under the Senate passed bipartisan infrastructure bill. Given the ongoing Congressional deliberations on how to advance the bipartisan infrastructure and reconciliation bills into law, it is unclear if any final bicameral FY22 appropriations agreement ultimately includes funding for those newly authorized programs, which need to first be ushered into law through the infrastructure bill.

In the meantime, in addition to continuing to advocate to Congress the importance of passing the infrastructure and reconciliation bills into law, NACWA will also continue working with appropriators to ensure the highest level of funding for clean water is included in any final FY22 appropriations package.  NACWA encourages its members to advocate the same message to their respective Senators and Representatives.

Please contact Jason Isakovic or Kristina Surfus on NACWA’s legislative team to discuss further.

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