NACWA Warns Congress Against "Draconian Cuts" to Clean Water Funding in House FY24 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Spending Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public Clean Water Utilities Say Cuts to State Revolving Funds Come at the Worst Possible Time
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2023) – The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) expressed deep concern today about the potential for Congress to enact massive spending cuts to State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs for clean water and drinking water – programs previously designated for expansion in FY24 to $3 billion apiece through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Instead of trying to fix the growing water crisis, the House Appropriations Committee proposed cutting water funding by more than half this week in its Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Spending Bill.
The Committee’s proposed legislation to rein in “wasteful spending” for “low priority programs” would cut appropriations for State Revolving Funds to a terminal level, effectively killing these vital programs supporting public water utilities. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is reduced from $1.64 billion in FY23 to $535 million in FY24 (67% reduction), and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is reduced from $1.13 billion in FY23 to $460.61 million in FY24 (59% reduction). The CWSRF figure is only 17% of the authorized level of funding under BIL, and the DWSRF figure only 15%. NACWA warned that the already underfunded water sector could not absorb additional funding cuts at this level.
NACWA CEO Adam Krantz said: “The House Appropriations Committee is asking Congress to cut funding for key water programs at the worst time possible. What we need to do is increase the State Revolving Funds to their fully authorized levels to close the water investment gap and help address the growing, low-income water affordability challenge. Water experts on both sides of the aisle are watching extreme rain and flooding events ravage New York and Vermont this week, and every corner of the country is at greater risk from climate impacts. So, no responsible lawmakers who are listening closely to their constituents can deny the public outcry for adequately funding water infrastructure at this critical juncture. Congress needs to put a stop to political posturing. Proposing radical spending cuts like this is a waste of time. We need to get down to business and fix our clean water infrastructure. Earmarks are helpful but given the huge water funding need they should be in addition to a fully funded SRF.”
NACWA has said in recent reports that costs of providing basic water services are growing for a variety of factors, including the need for communities to update aging infrastructure, comply with new regulatory mandates, address increasingly complex water quality challenges related to nutrients and emerging contaminants like PFAS, and improve system resilience to climate change and extreme weather.
NACWA Chief Advocacy & Policy Officer Nathan Gardner-Andrews said: “Although the current proposal just represents the Committee’s starting point for negotiations with the Senate, draconian spending cuts like this to the State Revolving Funds endanger the health and safety of American families by underfunding clean water services to an unsustainable level. It is vital that Congress appropriates the full authorized funding levels for water, wastewater, stormwater, and water recycling programs in FY24 so that local utilities and their customers have the resources to affordably invest in water infrastructure and meet their federal regulatory obligations.”
For over 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation’s recognized leader in legislative, regulatory, legal and communications advocacy on the full spectrum of clean water issues. NACWA represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide. Our unique and growing network strengthens the advocacy voice for the public clean water sector and helps advance policies to provide affordable and sustainable clean water for all. Our vision is to advance sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help to shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. For more information, visit us at www.nacwa.org.
CONTACT: To arrange an interview with NACWA leadership about the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies FY2024 appropriations package, and the potential impact of proposed spending cuts on clean water public utilities, contact Patrick Mitchell for more information at email@example.com.