AMSA, Coalition help ensure $1.35B for clean water funding in Senate

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development (VA-HUD) and Independent Agencies' appropriations package (S. 1584) which included full funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)...

Sep 24th, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 22, 2004 -- The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development (VA-HUD) and Independent Agencies' appropriations package (S. 1584) which included full funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).

The bill funds the CWSRF at the fiscal year 2004 level of $1.35 billion, which is considerably higher than the $850 million approved by the House Appropriations Committee. In July, the House Subcommittee on VA-HUD and Independent Agencies and the full Appropriations Committee slashed clean water funding by almost $500 million -- a 37% reduction from last year. Lawmakers in the House and Senate must now negotiate a mutually acceptable funding level for the CWSRF.

The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) and a broad coalition of state and local organizations, labor, construction and environmental and public health groups helped spur the Senate Committee's action, through meetings with key congressional staff and letter writing campaigns. The coalition also released a timely report, All Dried Up: How Clean Water Is Threatened by Budget Cuts (www.amsa-cleanwater.org/pubs/2004-09-15ADU.pdf), which was disseminated to targeted members of Congress via a press release ( www.amsa-cleanwater.org/advocacy/releases/091504.cfm) last week. Specifically, the report focuses on the effects that not restoring full funding would have; including the federal assistance each state stands to lose, how many jobs would not be created and the number of water improvement projects held up or scrapped.

William B. Schatz, General Counsel for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and AMSA president stated that without full federal funding "communities will not be able to tackle the current backlog of capital replacement projects, to meet mandates associated with controlling wet weather overflows or to address new pollutants and security issues in the future. Restoring water funding this year is a crucial step toward addressing a longer-term solution for our nation's water needs."

AMSA supports the Senate proposed figure of $1.35 billion for the CWSRF and believes it demonstrates a continued federal commitment to clean water in America. The Association believes, however, that to narrow the water infrastructure funding shortfall Congress should create a trust fund for clean water similar to those now used for highways and airports.

AMSA (www.amsa-cleanwater.org) is a national trade association representing hundreds of the nation's publicly owned wastewater treatment utilities. AMSA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day. AMSA members are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's waters and public health.

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