BONIOR FIGHTS FOR CLEAN WATER FUNDS
Congressman urges $3 billion in State Revolving Fund money
June 17, 2002 Contact: Bob Allison, (586) 469-3232
U.S. Rep. David Bonior is battling to increase allocations to a federal Clean Water loan program which helps finance local construction and repair of wastewater facilities to prevent pollution of our rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands.
In a letter this month, Bonior and other lawmakers call for a $3 billion allocation in FY 2003 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water State Revolving Fund program. The House Veterans Affairs-HUD Appropriations subcommittee currently is hammering out an EPA budget.
Bonior said the money will give local communities the ability to begin addressing some of the problems with aging sewers, nonpoint source runoff and overloaded treatment facilities.
"Polluted runoff and wastewater overflows are a terrible threat to our environment and the health of our neighborhoods," Bonior said. "We have let this problem build and build. Now it's time to begin addressing it."
The Clean Water State Revolving Loan program provides low-cost financing to communities for the construction, repair, and rehabilitation of wastewater collection and treatment facilities. The program also supports brownfield restoration and stormwater, wetlands, estuary, and nonpoint source runoff improvements.
In 1996, the EPA estimated that America's documented needs for water and wastewater systems exceeded about $300 billion over 20 years. Now the EPA indicates that nationwide needs will exceed $650 billion by the year 2019.
Meanwhile, the federal government has provided only 0.2% (roughly $1.35 billion) annually over the past several years for rehabilitation of this infrastructure.
"We need to begin aggressively closing the gap between the dramatic needs out there and the resources the federal government provides," Bonior said. "This $3 billion will be minor in comparison to the needs, but it will send a strong message that we must begin addressing this problem."