News | February 16, 2011

EPA's, Congress Clean Water Budget Proposals Ignore Local Regulatory/Financial Realities

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) strongly believes that budget cuts of any kind at this time to the Clean Water Act (CWA) program ignore the very real financial constraints of states and municipalities to implement a growing array of increasingly costly CWA requirements. While NACWA recognizes the austere budgetary times under which the federal government must operate these same circumstances are being experienced in municipalities and rate-paying households across the country.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN) estimate a $500B funding gap over 20 years between what is needed to upgrade and repair the nation's wastewater infrastructure and how much funding is available at all levels of government. While NACWA appreciates the additional funding this Administration has provided both through the annual appropriations process as well as through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) the agency's stated goal of providing five percent of total water infrastructure investment is still largely insufficient.

Given that it is clear that the CWSRF will be significantly reduced NACWA in line with its Money Matters campaign calls on the Administration to rethink its regulatory and enforcement approaches in line with the very real financial constraints faced at all levels of government.

As Executive Director of NACWA Ken Kirk states, "I couldn't agree with EPA more that now is the time for innovation and creative approaches and I call on EPA to work closely with NACWA on developing a more flexible and cost-effective approach to Clean Water Act compliance. NACWA looks forward to working with the President and Congress in developing a long-term federal commitment to clean water that will provide a sustainable source of funding to help our communities meet their water quality objectives. "

NACWA represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily.

SOURCE: The National Association of Clean Water Agencies