Advocacy

Issue Brief: Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act

THE ISSUE

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) supports legislation that increases authorized funding for federal clean water programs, including the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).

Background

The Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 was passed to protect one of our most important and vital natural resources—water. It was specifically written as a remedy to purify the extremely polluted drinking water sources that were unusable for bathing, swimming, recreational activities, or cleaning, let alone consuming. Since 1972, the quality of America’s rivers, lakes, streams, and other bodies of water have improved exponentially.

In order to assist states and localities in the implementation of CWA, Congress passed an amendment in 1987 creating the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). This program provides funding to states to assist localities in the construction and maintenance of wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. Through CWSRF, states are able to offer communities below-market loans to design, plan, build, or update water infrastructure. Since CWA was implemented, the levels of pollution in our water sources had decreased dramatically, as programs such as CWSRF have made it possible to maintain and update our aging water infrastructure.

It has been the policy of the Environmental Protection Agency, which administers CWSRF, to promote and prioritize the use of green infrastructure in CWSRF projects. Despite the benefits of CWSRF, it has not been reauthorized in nearly 30 years.


Bill Summary

A bipartisan group of representatives introduced legislation that would not only authorize CWSRF through 2024, but would also increase the allowable funding amounts. The Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Peter DeFazio (OR), and the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Grace Napolitano (CA), have jurisdiction over this issue and are both lead sponsors of H.R. 1497, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2019.

In addition to the five-year reauthorization, this legislation authorizes up to $20 billion in federal CWSRF grants over those five years. This legislation would create a $600 million pilot program to address wet weather discharge through the promotion of integrated water resource management, with an emphasis on resilience and sustainability. It also authorizes an additional $900 million for community grants to maintain and update their combined stormwater and wastewater management infrastructure, including those authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act.


Recent Action

On October 29, 2019, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastucture reported an amended H.R. 1497 out of committee.

Sponsors

Representatives Peter DeFazio (OR), Grace Napolitano (CA), Don Young (AK), John Katko (NY), and cosponsors.  

Contact

Roxanne Blackwell, 
Esq., Hon. ASLA,
Director of Federal
Government Affairs
governmentaffairs@asla.org

Elizabeth Hebron,
Director of State
Government Affairs
governmentaffairs@asla.org

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