(WASHINGTON, DC)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) praised provisions to fund clean water infrastructure projects included in bipartisan legislation the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved today.
Titled the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, the bill includes several provisions that would benefit the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including:
- More than doubling funds (from $40 million to $90 million) for the Army Corps of Engineers to finalize and implement its comprehensive master plan for restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.
- A three-year extension and additional funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund. The program would receive $2 billion more for fiscal year 2021, $2.5 billion more for fiscal 2022 and $3 billion more for fiscal 2023. Although an important step, CBF recommends further increases for this critical program.
- Requiring EPA to analyze new opportunities and methods to improve the distribution of revolving loan funds to historically disadvantaged low-income, minority, rural, and indigenous communities.
- The Wastewater Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program, which would help municipal treatment works comply with federal regulations and laws or provide funds needed to complete upgrade projects. The bill would fund the new program at $50 million annually from fiscal 2021 through fiscal 2024.
- The Clean Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Program, which would provide grants to help municipal wastewater treatment plants increase their resiliency to natural hazards. The bill would fund the new program at $5 million annually from fiscal 2021 through fiscal 2024.
The bill also would provide $23 million for the Anacostia Watershed Stream Restoration Project, which will allow migratory fish access to 90 percent of Anacostia River tributaries that are currently blocked.
CBF Federal Executive Director Jason Rano issued the following statement:
“When finalized, the Chesapeake Bay Comprehensive Plan to restore the Bay ecosystem will provide states and local communities with an invaluable roadmap for partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers on hundreds of Bay-saving initiatives, from restoring wetlands and planting forested buffers to cleaning up local waterways and restoring oyster reefs.
“The Army Corps’ plan is essential to helping the watershed’s six states and the District of Columbia meet broad restoration goals outlined in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement by the 2025 deadline. The funding boost and public input requirement represent critical investments in the plan’s ultimate success.
“CBF looks forward to working with Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper, Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairwoman Capito, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Cardin to advance this important bipartisan legislation.”