Investments in water infrastructure create jobs, healthy environment
At an event in Edmonston, MD, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD-4) called for broad investment in our nation's neglected water infrastructure...
EDMONSTON, MD, Dec. 15, 2011 -- At an event today in Edmonston, Maryland, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD-4) called for broad investment in our nation's neglected water infrastructure. Joined by EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water Nancy Stoner and environmental organizations, Green For All and American Rivers, Rep. Edwards noted the organizations' recent report, Water Works, which highlights how upgrading our crumbling water infrastructure could put nearly 1.9 million people back to work and add a quarter of a trillion dollars to the economy. The nation's water infrastructure is in dire need of repair -- an estimated $600 billion over the next 20 years is needed to protect our water supply, public health and the environment.
"Investments to improve the nation's water infrastructure will create jobs, reduce energy consumption, and promote long-term economic development and environmental stewardship. These common sense conclusions are affirmed in Water Works, a report highlighting that investments could create 36,000 -- 56,000 jobs in the state of Maryland," said Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD-4). "We cannot afford to pass on this opportunity. That is why I introduced the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2011 to ensure that projects effectively manage stormwater flow and improve water quality, bringing us closer to a clean-energy economy and improving our outdated water infrastructure."
The occasion for the event was the one-year anniversary of Edmonston's innovative "Green Street." The model serves as an inspiration to other cities, and one that attendees at today's event agreed that the program should be scaled nationwide. In 2010, the town of 1,500 along the Anacostia River decided to make a strategic investment in upgrading its main street, adding green infrastructural upgrades and energy efficient lighting.
"Our nation's water infrastructure is in desperate need of improvement. Communities across the country identified the need for $300 billion in wastewater and $335 billion in drinking water infrastructure improvements for capital expenditures alone over the next 20 years," said Nancy Stoner, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Water. "Today, we have a path forward where innovation in water management will enable us to meet America's water needs, protect public health, create jobs and strengthen our economy."
The "Green Street" project has paid off, reducing the amount of pollution entering the Anacostia River, saving the city on its energy costs -- and putting seventy people to work in its construction.
"From just outside our nation's capitol in the town of Edmonston to Chicago to San Francisco we are seeing how investments in water infrastructure are putting thousands of Americans back to work in the clean-energy economy," said Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All. "But, we are only scratching the surface, as our Water Works study highlights investments in water infrastructure should be scaled in cities and towns across the country."
"The Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act," which, if passed, would establish up to five Centers of Excellence charged with conducting research on green infrastructure and provide communities with training and technical assistance on how to implement green infrastructure practices. The legislation would also provide funding to help communities develop green infrastructure technologies.
About Green For All
Green For All is a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy. The organization works in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry -- all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of its agenda. For more information, please visit www.greenforall.org.