House Republicans Take Aim at Water Infrastructure Funding in Upcoming Vote to Slash State Revolving Fund Program
NACWA Warns Congress Against, “Irreparable Harm to US Water Infrastructure Upgrades, and Endangering the Health and Safety of American Families,” Contained in House FY24 Interior, Environment, And Related Agencies Spending Bill.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) today published a letter sent to Members of the House of Representatives, detailing serious risks to the water sector from massive spending cuts to State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs for clean water and drinking water. Of great concern to clean water agencies, the SRF programs previously designated for expansion in FY24 to $3 billion apiece through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are now on the chopping block. Instead of trying to fix the nation’s growing water crisis, the House Appropriations Committee laid the groundwork over the summer to cut funding by more than half in its Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Spending bill, which is slated for a vote this week.
The imminent vote by Congress on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill (H.R. 4821) would cut appropriations for State Revolving Funds to a terminal level, effectively killing these vital programs supporting public clean water utilities. Contained in the bill, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is reduced from $1.64 billion in FY23 to $535 million in FY24 (67% reduction), and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is reduced from $1.13 billion in FY23 to $460.61 million in FY24 (59% reduction). The CWSRF figure is only 17% of the authorized level of funding under BIL, and the DWSRF figure only 15%. NACWA warned that the already underfunded water sector could not absorb additional funding cuts at this level.
An excerpt from the NACWA letter states: “We urge you to provide critical levels of federal funding to support the public clean water sector in your consideration of H.R. 4821, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. The provision of these critical clean water services is accompanied by a multitude of complex challenges. These challenges include reinvesting in aging infrastructure, managing escalating operation and maintenance costs, addressing supply chain disruptions, attracting and retaining a skilled workforce, dealing with water quality impairments, and adhering to regulations related to substances like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), emerging contaminants, and nutrients. Our public clean water utilities are steadfast in their commitment to surmounting these challenges, striving to deliver the highest level of service to the communities they serve while maintaining affordable rates for families and local businesses.”
The full NACWA letter to Members of Congress is available for download at: https://www.nacwa.org/docs/default-source/resources—public/interior-enviro-house-fy24-letter.pdf?sfvrsn=a75ac361_1
NACWA Chief Advocacy & Policy Officer Nathan Gardner-Andrews said: “It is unfortunate that the current leadership in the House of Representatives intends to proceed with extreme legislation that will inevitably never become law, by voting to gut the State Revolving Funds. Defunding at this level would do irreparable harm to US water infrastructure upgrades and endanger the health and safety of American families. Congress should appropriate the full authorized funding levels for water infrastructure investment in FY24 so that local utilities and their customers have the resources to affordably invest in water infrastructure and meet their federal regulatory obligations.”
NACWA has said in recent reports that costs of providing basic clean water services are growing for a variety of reasons, including the need for communities to update aging infrastructure, comply with new regulatory mandates, address increasingly complex water quality challenges related to nutrients and emerging contaminants like PFAS, and improve system resilience to climate change and extreme weather.
For over 50 years, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has been the nation’s recognized leader in legislative, regulatory, legal and communications advocacy on the full spectrum of clean water issues. NACWA represents public wastewater and stormwater agencies of all sizes nationwide. Our unique and growing network strengthens the advocacy voice for the public clean water sector and helps advance policies to provide affordable and sustainable clean water for all. Our vision is to advance sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help to shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. For more information, visit us at www.nacwa.org.
CONTACT: To arrange an interview with NACWA leadership about the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies FY2024 appropriations package, and the potential impact of proposed spending cuts on clean water public utilities, contact Patrick Mitchell for more information at [email protected].