On July 19, the House of Representatives passed a minibus which includes funding for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal agencies. Added to the bill during Floor debate was an amendment that WEF suggested to Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) that will direct funding to complete the EPA Clean Watersheds Needs Survey.

The bill funds the EPA at just over $8 billion in FY19, which is roughly the same amount as the current year.  However, while the bill looks to cut regulatory programs at EPA, it does maintain or increase funding for several infrastructure-based programs:

  • A total of $1.5 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan fund and a total of $1 billion the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan fund, which states and localities use for water infrastructure projects; and,
  • A total of $75 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program to leverage federal dollars to provide financing for more than $8 billion in water infrastructure projects.

The bill also maintains a current funding level of $4.1 million for the National Priorities Grant Program, which WEF supports, and an increase of $19 million for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

During the vote, a large number of amendments were offered including an amendment by Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) which passed without objection and directs the EPA to provide $500,000 per year to complete the Clean Watersheds Needs Survey every two years.  WEF supports this proposal because the Needs Survey will likely demonstrate that there‚Äôs a huge national need for increased funding for stormwater infrastructure for CWA compliance.  The Needs Survey is supposed to be done every two years under the Clean Water Act, but the last one was completed using 2012 data.  

The Senate is expected to take up the FY19 Interior & Environment Appropriations bill as part of a minibus package as early as next week. 

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This Week in Washington is an online news portal from the Water Environment Federation that provides updates on the latest legislative and regulatory developments that affect the water and wastewater communities. It provides concise reports of related bills, regulations, legal decisions, congressional hearings, and other federal government actions, following key issues from introduction to final determination.

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This Week in Washington is compiled by the WEF Government Affairs department. Please contact us with any questions or comments.

Claudio Ternieden
Senior Director of Government Affairs & Strategic Partnerships

Steve Dye
Legislative Director

Amy Kathman
Government Affairs Specialist