The Environmental Protection Agency is the primary target of deep cuts in a $30.2 billion bill cleared by the House Appropriations Committee yesterday. The Committee’s 2015 Interior and Environment Bill cuts EPA funding by $717 million, or 9 percent, under current levels, and contains dozens of riders aimed at curtailing the EPA’s implementation of regulations including new greenhouse gas emissions restrictions for power plants and a new rule clarifying the application of the Clean Water Act to our nation’s wetlands, streams, and other waters.
Specifically, the House proposal includes cuts to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) which provide capital for modernizing and replacing the country’s aging water infrastructure. Specifically, if this bill is enacted, which we do not expect, the Clean Water SRF would receive $1.02 billion under the House bill, a cut from Fiscal Year 2014’s $1.45 billion, and the Drinking Water SRF would receive $757 million, down from $900 million in FY14. Overall the SRF programs will be cut by roughly $575 million. Preserving the SRFs is critical because these funds finance projects that not only deliver clean water but grow the economy by providing jobs and supporting businesses in rural, urban and suburban communities all over the country.
This is simply the first step in the appropriations process and we do not expect these to be the final enacted amounts. Recent history indicates the House typically proposes drastically lower appropriations numbers and the Senate proposes level or even increased appropriations and the final enacted numbers are somewhere in the middle. The CWC sees this Appropriations Bill as an opportunity to fight for more funding for the EPA on behalf of our members and to continue educating Congress and the public of the environmental, health, and economic benefits of investing in the SRFs. As always, we will be lobbying strenuously to prevent water infrastructure funding from being a casualty of Congressional action, and we will keep you updated on our efforts.
For more information on the Appropriations bill, click here.