WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives approved the “minibus #1” package of spending bills Friday afternoon. It included more than $11 billion in additional water infrastructure funding beyond the amount in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regular budget. The package would dramatically improve efforts to prevent sewage overflows and contamination of drinking water by lead and other sources.
John Rumpler, Environment America’s clean water program director, issued the following statement:
“Today, the House made an unprecedented and urgently needed investment to ensure we have clean water to swim in and drink across America.”
“As we documented Thursday in our Safe for Swimming? report, pollution all too often puts swimmers' health at risk. At 386 beaches nationwide, the water was potentially unsafe for swimming on at least one out of every four days tested last year. The final minibus package included $6.35 billion in additional emergency funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and funding for grants, which will dramatically enhance community efforts to stop sewage overflows and prevent runoff pollution -- two key sources of pathogens in America’s waterways.
Today’s spending package makes equally critical investments to secure safe drinking water for all Americans. With an amendment offered by Reps. Elissa Sloktin (NY), Dan Kildee (MI), and Rashida Tlaib (MI), the bill dedicates $1 billion to replacing the estimated 9.3 million toxic pipes known as lead service lines. The bill also includes an additional $3.8 billion in emergency spending for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to help communities ensure that their drinking water is safe.
“Clean water is vital for our health. We hope the Senate will swiftly approve these crucial investments to secure clean water for all Americans.”