The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee recently passed a fiscal year 2020 (FY20) Interior & Environment Appropriations bill, which funds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and key clean water programs. The full House previously passed its FY20 Interior & Environment Appropriations bill earlier this summer and now awaits passage of the Senate version before moving to conference the two versions of the bill.
According to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the bill includes several key priorities and victories for the clean water sector including:
- $9.01 billion in overall funding for the EPA, $161 million more that current levels and $2.79 billion more than the President’s budget request;
- $1.6 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), in line with significant increases enacted over the previous fiscal years;
- Report language under EPA’s Environmental Programs and Management account to direct and ensure timely and proper implementation of Integrated Planning and establishment of the new Office of Municipal Ombudsman;
- $73 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), a $5 million increase over the current level;
- Funding for several key programs NACWA worked to secure authorization for in passage of last year’s Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) including:
- $20.5 million in Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Control Grants;
- $1 million for the Water Workforce Utility Grants Program; and
- $5 million as part of WIFIA funding for implementation of the new SRF WIN Act.
- $472 million for EPA’s Geographic Programs, providing increased levels for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), Chesapeake Bay Program, Long Island Sound Program, and Gulf of Mexico Program; and
- $6 million for EPA’s National Priorities Water Research Grants Program, a $1 million increase over the current level.
Also in September, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that extends government funding from Oct. 1 through Nov. 21 at current levels and averts a government shutdown.
With Congress on recess until mid-October, Senate leadership is working on a path forward this fall to bring the Interior bill and the remaining appropriations bills before the full Senate for a vote and then proceed to work with House leadership to conference and package the bills for a final bicameral vote.
NACWA says it will continue working with Congress over the next several weeks to ensure the final appropriations package reflects these priorities and the highest levels of funding possible for the sector.