FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2016
Chief Advocacy Officer
Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) strongly applauds today's passage by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee of the 2016 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) by a strong, bipartisan vote of 19-1.
Of equal importance, however, is that the bill directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a study examining the affordability challenges faced by low-income populations in paying for drinking water and wastewater services, setting the stage for a much-needed national dialogue on how a local-state-federal partnership can be re-established to address these growing affordability challenges that are at the heart of the investment gap.
"Many of the municipal clean water community's legislative priorities from recent years are included in this bill, and NACWA believes it will go a long way towards helping ensure all Americans have access to clean and safe water," said Adam Krantz, NACWA CEO. "NACWA thanks Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for their leadership and for putting together such an ambitious and innovative WRDA package. NACWA is also thankful for the leadership and commitment on the part of other Senate champions who worked closely with Committee leaders to provide key provisions in the bill, including Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)."
The Senate package is a bold, bipartisan bill that will inject much needed investment into our nation's clean water infrastructure and establish strong policy tools within the Clean Water Act (CWA) to aid municipal clean water utilities in meeting their environmental and public health goals. Among other things, the bill would:
- Establish, for the first time, a Clean Water Trust Fund;
- Require a study on the potential role of low-income assistance programs to support full-cost pricing for water and sewer rates;
- Establish a municipal ombudsman within the Environmental Protection Agency to advocate on behalf of municipalities;
- Incentivize Integrated Planning and allow greater use of compliance schedules to achieve water quality standards;
- Promote greater use of Green Infrastructure and other innovative technologies to management wet weather; and
- Authorize $1.8 billion for the CWA's sewer overflow control grant program.
"Public clean water utilities across the US are committed to ensuring the waters in their communities are clean, safe, and healthy. But the infrastructure investments required to achieve the Clean Water Act's goals are costly, and these same public agencies have a responsibility to spend their ratepayers' dollars in the most efficient manner. We need national policies that advance the goals of the Clean Water Act while recognizing new opportunities to achieve the goals more effectively and respond to the significant affordability challenges facing many of our nation's communities. S. 2768 does this, and NACWA applauds Sen. Brown and Sen. Booker for their strong leadership on this important issue," said Adam Krantz, NACWA CEO.
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) is the leading advocate for responsible national policies that advance clean water. NACWA represents the collective interests of America's clean water utilities nationwide – and their clear commitment to America's waters. For over 40 years, NACWA has been the clean water community's voice in Congress, at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies, as well as in the media and in the courts. To learn more about NACWA visit us at www.nacwa.org.