Graves Introduces Legislation to Invest in Clean Water Infrastructure
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee helped introduce legislation this week that will help states and local communities – including small and rural communities – address their wastewater infrastructure needs. The bill improves the wastewater infrastructure permitting process and provides flexibility communities often need to take on complex projects.
Graves introduced the Wastewater Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2021 along with Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member David Rouzer (R-NC) and U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-AK).
“States and communities across the country face tight budgets and difficult choices with the amount of resources that are available to them – especially our rural and smaller communities. That’s why this bill is so important,” said Graves. “The Wastewater Infrastructure Improvement Act provides for critical investments, reduces bureaucratic burdens at the local level, and gives communities more tools and flexibility to address their substantial wastewater infrastructure needs. I look forward to working with the Chair and members of the Majority to reach bipartisan agreement on these important issues just as we did last Congress.”
The legislation authorizes federal funding for major Clean Water Act infrastructure programs administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program, the primary source of federal assistance to states and communities for wastewater infrastructure construction. Clean Water SRF capitalization grants are commonly used by the states to help communities fund sewer overflow and stormwater projects, water pollution control activities, and water recycling and reuse projects.
This bill largely reflects a bipartisan agreement reached last Congress on similar legislation the Committee approved, including agreed upon authorization levels.
Highlights of the Wastewater Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2021:
- Reauthorizes the Clean Water SRF program for the first time since 1994 at levels ($14 billion over five years) ensuring real progress will be made in tackling needed wastewater projects.
- Reauthorizes other important clean water programs, including for providing assistance to states in implementing state water quality improvement programs and sewer overflow and stormwater management projects.
- Reduces red tape and encourages long-term planning by providing additional permit flexibility with longer permit terms to help communities address local water quality challenges.
- Provides resources for technical assistance to small and rural municipalities struggling to address their wastewater infrastructure needs.
- Provides additional flexibility for our cities and towns to pursue the utility upgrades that are best for them, not what is dictated by Washington.