WASHINGTON, DC, APRIL 24, 2020 -- Two key U.S. senators have unveiled bipartisan draft legislation that would authorize $19.5 billion to support the water and wastewater industry. Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tom Carper (D-Dela.) drafted the legislation, which would fund the Army Corps of Engineers’ flood protection, ecological restoration and other projects, as well as Environmental Protection Agency wastewater treatment and drinking water programs. The legislation calls for more than double the funding the last water package provided.
“The draft legislation will help ensure American-made goods are safely shipped from one state to another and that the water Americans are drinking is safe,” Barrasso said in a statement this week.
The water legislation’s two components are the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA 2020), which includes Corps and EPA clean water provisions, and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act, The Hill reports.
Carper said in the statement that the new legislation “would improve projects’ resiliency to extreme weather events, increase the transparency and accountability of federally-funded projects and ensure that every community can benefit from federal funding and support — especially the smaller, rural and vulnerable communities that have been disregarded for far too long.”
The draft AWIA 2020 legislation would authorize $17 billion in new infrastructure projects, including $909 million for the federal share of a $1.4-billion flood protection program in Norfolk, Va., the largest single project allocation under the bill.
The draft Drinking Water Infrastructure Act legislation would reauthorize the Safe Drinking Water Act emergency fund, which provides resources to communities with dangerous water issues. It would also authorize $300 million in grants to help deal with contaminants including PFAS.