Members of Congress have been given a short window to review the legislative language of the omnibus appropriations bill
The text of the omnibus appropriations bill was released on Feb. 13. This gave Members of Congress a short window to review the legislative language, pass the bill through both the House and Senate, and then send it to the White House for President Donald J. Trump’s signature by Feb. 15, 2019.
According to a Water Environment Federation (WEF) news release, the organization is excited about many of the funding allocations for which it had advocated that likely will be finalized and soon signed into law.
The Senate plans to vote first, followed by a House vote Feb. 14, 2019. According to WEF, the President has not officially stated he will sign the bill, but reports show he is leaning in that direction.
Those allocations include the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), Safe Drinking Water SRF, Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Grants, Water Research Grants, the Clean Watersheds Needs Survey and Community Affordability.
The Clean Water SRF will receive $1.7 billion. This is equal to the 2018 enacted level and $300 million above President Trump's’ budget request. According to WEF, direct 10% of funds are to be used for green infrastructure, water & energy efficiency improvements, or other environmentally innovative activities.
The Safe Drinking Water SRF will receive $1.2 billion. This is also equal to the 2018 enacted level and above the President’s budget request.
WIFIA Grants will receive $68 million. This is $5 million above the FY 2018 enacted level and $48 million above President Trump's budget request. The forecasts total potential loan capacity at more than $7 billion in water infrastructure projects. According to WEF, this directs the EPA to prioritize funding to address lead and emerging contaminants, including PFOA and PFAS.
$5 million will be provided for water quality research grants. The Clean Watersheds Needs Survey will receive $500,000 for the EPA to carry out the survey. The survey was last completed in 2016 using 2012 data. Lastly, the bill language encourages the EPA to continue ongoing efforts to publish a new affordability methodology.