The following is a transcript of the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast for February 27, 2017.
Hi, I'm Angela Godwin for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you water and wastewater news headlines for the week of February 27. Coming up...
Scott Pruitt confirmed as EPA head, addresses agency
State backs Flint's spending plan
Reclamation announces water marketing strategy funding opportunity
Pope Francis participates in 'Dialogue on Water'
Former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was confirmed by the Senate on February 17th to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
Critics of Pruitt's appointment cite his adversarial history with the agency, noting that he sued EPA several times during the course of his career.
Supporters of Pruitt's nomination believe he's uniquely qualified to "rein in" what they perceive as EPA's regulatory overreach under the Obama administration.
Last week, Pruitt addressed the EPA for the first time, outlining his regulatory views.
He also told the agency that he believes growing the economy and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive.
Last week, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality submitted an intended use plan to EPA, outlining how it would prioritize spending federal and state funds to help the city of Flint.
The plan is essentially identical to what Mayor Karen Weaver has proposed, including $58.5 million for improvements to the water plant, $40 million for replacing lead service lines, $10 million for improvements to the transmission main, and $10 million for the replacement of home water meters across the city.
The funding comprises $100 million in federal funds, plus a state match of $20 million.
The spending would be spread out over three fiscal years.
Reclamation is making $3 million available for states, Indian Tribes, irrigation districts, water districts and other organizations with water or power delivery authority to cost-share with Reclamation to develop a water marketing strategy.
Water marketing refers to the lease, sale or exchange of water or water rights, or voluntary agreements governing water rights, water use or water management undertaken in accordance with state and federal laws, between willing participants.
Strategies developed under the WaterSMART funding opportunity will help prevent water-related conflicts and contribute to water sustainability.
For more details on the funding opportunity please visit usbr.gov/watersmart.
In international news, last week Pope Francis met with 90 international experts for a "Dialogue on Water" at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
He called access to clean drinking water a basic human right, and said the lack of clean and safe drinking water around the world is "a source of great suffering."
He cited the need to educate others about the importance of protecting water resources and urged scientists, business leaders, politicians, and parishioners to work together toward a solution.
For WaterWorld magazine, I'm Angela Godwin. Thanks for watching.