House Appropriations Committee Approves $1 Billion Cut to Water Infrastructure

House Appropriations Committee Approves $1 Billion Cut to Water Infrastructure

The House Appropriations Committee approved draft legislation that would slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Unfortunately, a nearly $1 billion hit is directed at the EPA's State Revolving Funds (SRFs), which provide investments in water infrastructure projects.

The draft bill would fund the SRF program at 2008 levels: $689 million for the clean water SRF and $829 million for the drinking water SRF, a $967 million reduction from fiscal year 2011 spending levels. In setting funding levels, the committee report expressed concern that, "funding these accounts through regular appropriations is unsustainable" and encouraged examination of "funding mechanisms for the SRFs that are sustainable in the long-term." The cut would eliminate approximately $116 million in equipment market opportunity.

Though the committee's bill is likely to pass the full House in the coming weeks, it is dead on arrival in the Senate. AED is reminding lawmakers of our nation's dire water infrastructure needs, which exceed $600 billion for clean water and drinking water needs. The Association is also continuing its push for lifting the cap on private activity bonds for water infrastructure projects and other innovative financing methods that leverage private investment.

Army Corps Budget Takes Hit
On July 15, the House approved fiscal year 2012 funding for Energy, Water, and Related Agencies Appropriations (H.R. 2354) trimming $89 million in civil works funding for the Army Corps of Engineers from 2011 funding levels.

Despite the cut, the funding level is $195 million above the amount requested by the Obama Administration. The increase in funding is largely attributable to projects dedicated to flood control, including dam safety improvements, and efforts to advance navigation projects and studies. The bill does not fund all of the presidentially requested projects for the Army Corps – redirecting $59 million to navigation and flood control activities.

However, much like the funding measure for the State Revolving Funds (see above) the legislation faces a near certain rejection by the Senate, leaving final Corp funding for fiscal year 2012 uncertain.