Senate Environment and Public works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and ranking Democrat Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., joined forces to pass the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, S. 2848, on April 28.
NSSGA supported the bill that the Committee approved on a 19-1 vote. According to Chairman Inhofe, the bill will hopefully be on the Senate floor before the July recess.
WRDA authorises US$9 billion of funding for maintenance and improvements to the nation’s water infrastructure. At its core, S. 2848 authorises future spending of US$3.4 billion for the new construction of 25 water resources projects. WRDA would allow new types of work to qualify for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) State Revolving Funds, the primary source of federal assistance to communities for water programmes and a programme for which NSSGA has urged full funding. The bill also creates several new grant programmes, including one that helps small and disadvantaged communities to replace lead service lines, a US$100 million authorisation for schools to test for lead and a US$50 million annual authorisation for innovative water technology grants.
“This bill is not only fully paid for, it prioritises projects to improve ports and waterways for increased global competitive advantage and supports needed flood control projects that protect millions of people and bills of dollar’ worth of infrastructure,” said Inhofe. “This common sense legislation also includes both relief for communities with drinking water emergencies and nationwide support for clean water and safe drinking water infrastructure.”
Of particular importance to Sen. Boxer are provisions that address the Flint, Mich., drinking water issue. “WRDA ensures that the American people have clean drinking water, provides flood protection, maintains navigation routes, and improves wastewater infrastructure,” she said. “What happened in Flint has shown us how vulnerable some of our water systems are, and this bill is a perfect vehicle to upgrade our water infrastructure.”
Adapted from press release by Rebecca Bowden
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/the-americas/03052016/senate-committee-passes-water-resources-reauthorisation-15/