Full Cmte Unanimously Approves Bipartisan Legislation to Modernize Drinking Water Infrastructure
The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today approved seven committee bills, one of which is H.R. 3387, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act. H.R. 3387 seeks to bring greater investment in the country's aging drinking water infrastructure as well as facilitate compliance by our drinking water delivery systems.
Drinking water is delivered across the country via one million miles of pipes owned by both private and public water systems. Many of these pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years. While drinking water quality remains high across the country, improvements can be made and #SubEnvironment has been proactively working to address these issues in a bipartisan manner.
H.R. 3387, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act, authored by committee member Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) passed the committee by voice vote.
H.R. 3387, would;
Authorize $8 billion over 5 years for the drinking water revolving loan fund program.
Open the eligible uses of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to now cover costs associated with preconstruction activities and replacing or rehabilitating aging treatment, storage, or distribution facilities.
Create a strategic plan to have an electronic system that allows water utilities to send their compliance data to states, and states then send the data to EPA.
Reauthorize funding for voluntary source water protection programs.
Encourage more readable and understandable consumer confidence reports and solidifies their electronic distribution.
"Safe drinking water for our constituents is a goal we can all agree should be a priority for Congress," commented Rep. Harper. "The Drinking Water Systems Improvement Act builds on the work of previous Congresses to make the Safe Drinking Water Act better for our constituents. I look forward to continuing our work on these issues."
When discussing the bipartisan Manager's Amendment, #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) commented, "Both sides needed to make not just difficult decisions but hard choices The amendment before us will advance infrastructure and move us towards more modern drinking water systems The amendment is not perfect but it is a step forward and worthy of member support."
"Moving a serious reauthorization of any major environmental law, like the Safe Drinking Water Act, takes a lot of cooperation and willingness to talk out the issues and find common ground," concluded Chairman Walden. "That common ground brought us to where we are today. H.R. 3387 focuses on three main principles: increasing funding to address drinking water systems' physical needs, aiding states and utilities with compliance and operation of the drinking water program, and encouraging the wisest use of money that is spent."
On March 16, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing examining drinking water infrastructure needs across the country.
On May 19, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing on a discussion draft of the legislation.
On July 13, 2017, #SubEnvironment advanced H.R. 3387 to the full committee by voice vote.