Home  More News  News Index   MTBE   Environmental News

Federal Legislation

House Passes $8.2 Billion Water Projects Bill

Republicans and Democrats united Wednesday to overwhelmingly pass an $8.2 billion House bill mapping out plans for dams, harbor, river navigation and other water projects for the coming decade. Congress last enacted a bill approving water projects in 2007, a lapse that created pent-up demand among lawmakers for such work. Time 10/24/13

Foreign nuts and bolts OK'd for stimulus water projects - EPA Staff Report

Aug. 10, 2009

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued a waiver of Buy American requirements for small amounts of foreign-made parts in $6 billion worth of state and municipal water projects. Such “de minimis” foreign iron, steel and other manufactured goods cannot make up more than five percent of the total cost of materials in the project, the EPA announcement said. A shortage of U.S.-made small parts or difficulty in determining where they are made, including some types of nuts, bolts, tubing and gaskets, reportedly has been slowing approval of state and municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment and distribution projects that rely on stimulus funds.

Read the full story and learn how your organization can republish the story at no cost

Senate begins debate on $34.3 billion water and energy appropriations bill

The Senate this afternoon will begin debate on a $34.3 billion fiscal 2010 energy and water spending bill as environmental groups press lawmakers to strip provisions they say will damage wetlands and fish habitat in Missouri. Overall, the Senate bill, S. 1436, would provide $27.4 billion to the Energy Department, $5.4 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers and $1.1 billion to the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation. New York Times_ 7/27/09

$33.3 billion water and energy appropriations bill heads to House floor

The House will take up the $33.3 billion fiscal 2010 energy and water spending bill this week as Democratic leaders in that chamber push to complete all appropriations measures before the August break. The bill boosts spending for water projects overall, increasing funding for the Army Corps of Engineers but cutting money for the Bureau of Reclamation. The spending bill would cut the budget for Reclamation by $38 million, slicing $10 million from the $920 million provided this year for the agency's water account. The account finances water development, management and restoration in the 17 Western states. The energy and water bill is also moving ahead in the Senate. The full Appropriations Committee approved its version last week. New York Times_ 7/13/09

download a pdf of the full bill

In North Carolina, its David vs. Goliath as big, small municipalities square off over federal stimulus money

It's called a “smart controller.” Packed in a small metal panel, its sophisticated technology could save Charlotte sprinkler users millions of gallons of water a year. Now it's the focus of one of North Carolina's first controversies over federal stimulus money. By pitting small communities against big ones, it matches Davids and Goliaths on a playing field tilted in some ways toward the Davids. At issue is a portion of the $6.3 billion the state is divvying up from the $787 billion stimulus passed by Congress this year. Around $65 million is earmarked for water projects through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. About $40 million has already been committed to 35 projects. Charlotte Observer_ 6/13/09

Face-off over 'fracking': Water battle brews in Congress

Environmentalists and the natural gas industry are getting ready for a battle in Congress over something known as "hydraulic fracturing." "Fracking," as the industry calls it, involves injecting a million gallons or more of water and chemicals deep underground to pry out gas that's locked away in tight spaces. Environmentalists want the federal government to regulate the practice because, in some cases, fracking may be harming nearby water wells. The industry says regulation should be left up to the states. In 2005, the industry successfully lobbied for an exemption for fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act. That leaves regulation up to the states, which don't have the kind of resources the EPA does. But the natural gas industry argues that more regulation will push up prices. Hydraulic fracturing is, in part, responsible for the low natural gas prices consumers are paying now. NPR_ 5/27/09

Federal programs provide $58 million for 108 New Hampshire drinking water and wastewater projects

The state received $39 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program for grants or loans for municipal wastewater system upgrades, and $19 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program for drinking water system upgrades. The funds will be matched with low-interest loans from the state's existing revolving loan funds. Boston Globe_ 4/21/09

Obama signs omnibus public lands, water conservation bill

President Barack Obama Monday signed an all-inclusive bill on land and water conservation into law. The measure that includes more than 160 bills, would designate about 2 million acres of parks, rivers, streams, desert, forest and trails in nine states as new wilderness, and secure them from oil and gas drilling and other development. The newly-designated wilderness are located in California, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia, New Mexico and Michigan. "It safeguards more than 1,000 miles of our rivers, protects watersheds and cleans up polluted groundwater, defends our oceans and great lakes, will revitalize our fisheries, returning fish to rivers that have not seen them in decades," said the president. Xinhua_ 3/31/09

House passes water bill with billions for states
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill on Thursday that would dedicate $19.4 billion to water and wastewater infrastructure, including $13.8 billion for state's water funds over five years.  The legislation, which passed 317 to 101, also contains $2.5 billion in grants for addressing sewer overflows, $250 million for alternative water source projects, and $750 million for combating water pollution in the Great Lakes.  The Senate must now take up the bill, which is a combination of five pieces of legislation that passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate.  Reuters_3/12/09

Ohio has huge need for sewer, water system repair funds

Ohio has $275.6 million to spend on sewer water projects, but needs $4 billion, according to the growing list of requests for economic stimulus money. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, was disappointed at the low level of funding for water and sewer projects in the stimulus bill. He is considering pushing a moratorium on water and sewer projects to give the EPA time to consider whether towns can afford to do what the agency asks. He said in some cases, the EPA based its requirements on businesses located in cities. The businesses have gone away, but the requirements haven't. Dayton Daily News_ 3/9/09

House committee considers adding $15 billion more for water, sewers
The U.S. House of Representatives' infrastructure committee approved a sweeping water and sewer bill on Thursday that would add more than $15 billion to the dollars already sent to states under the recently-enacted stimulus plan, but could face a bump when the full body votes on it.  The Water Quality Investment Act of 2009 combines five water bills that the House approved last year, but which stalled in the Senate, including one that would authorize $13.8 billion of federal grants for clean water state revolving funds.  Reuters_3/5/09

Check your water earmarks

The House Appropriations Committee has compiled its nationwide list of earmarks included in the $410 billion omnibus bill. The measure passed the House Feb. 25 and was sent to the Senate. Earmarks order federal agencies to spend money on specific projects. The special appropriations are put in the spending bill by individual members of Congress. About two years ago, when Democrats won control of the House, the Appropriations Committee began publishing online the full list of earmarks requested by House members. Senate earmarks are included in the bill, but they aren't separately published online with the name of the Senator who requested the spending. Most of the drinking water and wastewater earmarks are included in the sections on Energy and Water Development or Interior and Environment. Some others may be found in the Agriculture section and it is possible there are water-related earmarks in some other areas.

Download a pdf file of the 2009 House Energy and Water Development earmarks.

Download a pdf file of the 2009 House Interior and Environment earmarks.

Download a pdf file of the 2009 House Agriculture earmarks.

Source: House Appropriations Committee

North Carolina officials rush to bid for stimulus cash for water projects

Rushing to beat a deadline Friday, local governments applied for up to $3 million each from more than $65 million in federal stimulus money available for North Carolina drinking water projects. Local officials were told in a Web-based seminar on Feb. 20 to submit plans for a project ready for construction as part of an effort to jump-start the economy, said Paul Fredette, Elizabeth City's engineer. Notices of approval are expected in 30 to 60 days, he said. It was not clear Friday if every qualified project would be funded. A mix of loans and grants would make up the funding, Fredette said. Virginian-Pilot_ 3/1/09

16 Michigan cities to share $66 million for water improvement projects

Sixteen Michigan cities will share about $66 million under the federal stimulus package to make water system improvements to their communities, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday.The improvement plan is part of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Barack Obama last week. Statewide, the need for drinking water infrastructure improvements is a 20-year need, totaling $11.3 billion. Detroit News_ 2/24/09

President Barack Obama signs $787 billion economic stimulus bill that includes $2 billion for drinking water infrastructure

The signing ceremony Tuesday was held in Denver's Museum of Nature and Science to emphasize the "green" nature of many of the law's features. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) said in a news release that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide details for states on how to apply for portions of the $2 billion in loans. EPA officials, according to AWWA, are urging utilities to "immediately" contact state drinking water loan officials to discuss their projects. AWWA estimated the bill provides $4 billion for wastewater utilities and $1.4 billion for rural drinking water, wastewater water and waste disposal projects. Drinking water highlights, according to the AWWA news release, include:

* $2 billion for drinking water infrastructure
* States will not be required to provide matching funds
* Priority for project funding will be given to projects on a state priority list that are ready to proceed to construction within 12 months of enactment of H.R. 1
* Each state shall use no less than 50 percent of its capitalization funds to provide “additional subsidization…in the form of forgiveness of principal, negative interest loans or grants or any combination of these…”
* At least 20 percent of the funds shall be used for “projects that address green infrastructure, water or water efficiency improvements or other environmentally innovative activities…” to the extent that there are sufficient eligible project applications
* Funds may be used to buy, refinance or restructure debt obligations of eligible recipients only when that debt was incurred on or after October 1, 2008
* EPA shall reallocate funds where projects are not under contract or construction within 12 months of enactment
* No funds may be used to acquire land or a conservation easement for source water protection, to implement source water protection measures, or to establish or implement wellhead protection programs
* EPA (and all other federal agencies receiving stimulus funds) must post its plans for using those funds on the website, which will be publicly accessible.

AWWA will provide a webcast on the stimulus bill at 1 p.m. EDT February 26. AWWA has also prepared a summary of key provisions relevant to local governments. News Release_ 2/17/09

Colorado members of Congress seek  legislation to protect water from hydraulic fracturing

US Reps. Diana DeGette (D) and John Salazar (D), both of Colorado, have introduced legislation that would repeal the Safe Drinking Water Act exemption for hydraulic fracturing and force energy companies to reveal the contents of the fracturing fluids. “There is little reason to continue the exemption,” says Representative DeGette in a phone interview. “Communities have a right to know what is potentially threatening their water." Energy industry officials say there’s no evidence that hydraulic fracturing contaminates groundwater or threatens public health. Christian Science Monitor_ 2/5/09

January, 2009

Group of U.S. senators calls for water, sewer improvements

In a letter to congressional leadership, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Robert P. Casey (D-PA), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) have outlined how federal water and sewer infrastructure investment can create new jobs and economic development while responding to critical public health and safety needs. Recent EPA reports on the state of the nation’s public drinking and wastewater utilities predict an estimated need of nearly $500 billion over the next 20 years to keep up with the demands of aging infrastructure. Additionally, many communities across the country require costly, but necessary, renovations of combined sewage overflow (CSO) systems. An estimated $50 billion is required to address these outdated systems, which combine storm-water and waste-water, on a nationwide basis. Buffalo, Missouri Reflex_ 1/26/09

Keeping up with water infrastructure projects in federal legislation

The Senate version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is expected to be released this week, enabling Congress to begin work on a consensus package that could include substantial water infrastructure projects. The House version was released last week. John Salo's Brown and Caldwell blog_ 1/26/09

December, 2008

Congressmen Waxman and Oberstar accuse Bush administration of Clean Water Act enforcement failures

Today Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-California) and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-Minnesotta) wrote to President-elect Obama regarding their investigation into the drastic deterioration of the Clean Water Act enforcement program. New internal documents obtained by the Committees show that hundreds of Clean Water Act violations have not been pursued with enforcement actions. Dozens of existing enforcement cases have become informal responses, have had civil penalties reduced, and have experienced significant delays. Many violations are not even being detected because of the substantial reduction in investigations. Violations involving oil spills make up nearly half of the Clean Water Act violations that have been detected but are not being addressed. The text of the letter to President-elect Obama, a memorandum discussing the Committees’ findings, and accompanying internal documents are available online at News Release_ 12/16/08

Largest U.S. water associations urge President-elect Barack Obama to adopt a 'National Agenda for Drinking Water' Staff Report

November 21, 2008

Republish this story at no cost; to learn how, click here

The nation's largest water associations are urging President-elect Barack Obama to set a 'National Agenda for Drinking Water' that would include immediate and longterm infrastructure improvements and promote research into climate change and emerging contamination sources, such as personal care products and pharmaceuticals. In their proposal, the associations also oppose any federal tax on water. The 16-page booklet was prepared by the American Water Works Association, the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Water Companies and the National Rural Water Association. Together, the four groups represent most of the nation's public and private drinking water and wastewater companies and utilities.

(read the full story)

N.Y. Rep. Maurice Hinchey to push anti-fracking bill to protect drinking water
Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today vowed to aggressively press for the passage of a bill he coauthored that would close a legislative loophole which exempts hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas exploration and drilling from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The bill, H.R. 7231, would reinstate basic federal standards for hydraulic fracturing under the SDWA and enable the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to protect drinking water supplies in states with little or no regulations. Hydraulic fracturing -- also known as “fracking” -- involves injecting fluids into a well at extremely high pressure to crack open an underground formation and then prop open the new fractures in order to facilitate the flow of oil and gas out of the well. More than 90 percent of oil and gas wells in the U.S. undergo this treatment with many undergoing it more than once over the life of the well. Fracking fluids often contain highly toxic chemicals. A portion of the fluids are brought up to the surface, but a portion remains underground. Underground sources of drinking water could potentially be contaminated during the fracking process or from chemicals left underground. Hydraulic fracturing is already suspected of endangering drinking water in many places, including Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Wyoming and New Mexico. News Release_ 11/20/08

President Bush signs Platte River recovery measure

Legislation that supplies the federal share of money for the Platte River recovery program in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska was signed into law Thursday. The bill President Bush signed provides $157 million to help carry out a three-state agreement with the federal government. The agreement provides guidance on managing the Platte River to accommodate endangered species and the growing number of cities and farmers using the river. Negotiations on use of the Platte started in the 1990s, in part because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said water projects on the river threatened vulnerable wildlife. The governors of Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska approved the plan in 2006. AP/Star-Herald_ 5/9/08

U.S. House of Representatives Water Caucus would pool ideas on national problem

Georgia Republican Rep. John Linder sees water sources disappearing across the parched South. He looks to the West and sees battles over water rights. Linder's answer is the House Water Caucus. The 30-member caucus, which includes the entire Georgia House delegation, hopes to build alliances that cut across geography and political party to address what Linder said is a "devastating condition." The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that by 2016, more than half of the nation's pipes will be in "very poor" condition if not completely unusable, Linder said. Linder and caucus co-chairmen, Reps. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., and George Radanovich, R-Calif., used Earth Day to press colleagues to pass legislation that would identify ways to ensure an adequate water supply for the next 50 years. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution talked with Linder recently about the role of the caucus.

Q: What will the water caucus do?

A: The caucus will work to pass HR 135—legislation (sponsored by Linder) that would create a national Water Commission. The commission would identify incentives to ensure an adequate and dependable domestic water supply for the next 50 years without placing mandates on state and local governments. Atlanta Journal-Constitution_ 4/29/08

Water bill draws intense fire; Clean Water Restoration Act gets airing
Depending on your viewpoint, a new bill in Congress would restore clean water protections that worked beautifully for 35 years until a court ruling threatened them -- or would massively overreach by requiring a federal permit for every puddle. Western state supporters and opponents of the Clean Water Restoration Act clashed sharply at a Wednesday hearing, with neither side giving ground. Some governors of both parties, including Montana's, support the bill, while a Montana cattlemen's group and a Wyoming senator slammed it.  Without the bill, as many as 20 million acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of seasonal streams across the country will be vulnerable to pollution and destruction, testified Carol Browner, former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The dispute centers on a proposed change in wording to the Clean Water Act. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., wrote the bill in response to a split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006 in a case challenging the Clean Water Act. Feingold's bill would remove the word "navigable" from the phrase "navigable waters of the United States" in the Clean Water Act. It would define "waters of the United States" as "all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries."  But Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said there is "overwhelming objection to this bill" and said "Removing the word "navigable" is clearly an expansion."  Casper Star Tribune_4/10/08

New poll says 54% of Americans reject expansion of the Clean Water Act

A majority of Americans oppose a proposal to expand the Clean Water Act, according to a new nationwide survey released today by the National Center for Public Policy Research.  The proposal, the Clean Water Restoration Act (CRWA), has been introduced by Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) in the House of Representatives and Russell Feingold (D-WI) in the Senate.  In the poll, voters were informed the Congress is considering a measure that would expand the areas covered under the Clean Water Act, including to areas that are only intermittently wet. They were then provided brief arguments both pro and con on the measure and then asked whether they favored or opposed the proposal.  54% of those expressing an opinion oppose the measure, while 46% favor it, according to the survey. Among political independents, the margin was greater -- 56% oppose the measure while 44% favor it.  The poll was conducted by Wilson Research Strategies, which surveyed 800 registered voters who are likely to vote in the 2008 presidential election. The poll has a margin of error of 3.46% at a 95% confidence interval.  Press Release_3/6/08

Senate overrides Bush veto on water bill

President Bush suffered the first veto override of his seven-year-old presidency Thursday as the Senate enacted a $23 billion water resources bill despite his protest that it was filled with unnecessary projects. The vote was 79-14 to pass the bill. The bill funds hundreds of Army Corps of Engineers projects, such as dams, sewage plants and beach restoration, that are important to local communities and their representatives. It also includes money for the hurricane-hit Gulf Coast and for Florida Everglades restoration efforts. The House voted 361-54 to override the veto Tuesday. Both votes easily exceeded the two-thirds majority needed in each chamber to negate a presidential veto. The bill calls for an independent peer review process of all Army Corps projects costing $45 million or more, a bid to cut down on wasteful spending. AP/New York Times_ 11/8/07 (logon required)

House of Representatives votes to override Bush's veto of water projects

The House voted 361 to 54 this evening to override President Bush’s veto of a $23 billion water projects bill, apparently sealing Mr. Bush’s first defeat in a veto showdown with Congress. The House tally was well over the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. If the Senate does vote as expected, this will be the first of Mr. Bush’s five vetoes during his two terms as president to be overridden. The bill, formally the Water Resources Development Act, would authorize $3.5 billion in work for the hurricane-stricken region of Louisiana and nearly $2 billion in Everglades restoration. It also includes billions of dollars more for flood control, restoration and other projects favored by individual lawmakers, which was a key to its passage in Congress. Critics of the legislation have asserted that it is larded with wasteful spending, and that it does not do enough to change the Army Corps of Engineers, which would be in charge of most of the work. New York Times_ 11/6/07 (logon required)

Bush vetoes water projects bill; Override expected

An increasingly confrontational President Bush on Friday vetoed a bill authorizing hundreds of popular water projects even though lawmakers can count enough votes to override him. Bush brushed aside significant objections from Capitol Hill, even from Republicans, in thwarting legislation that provides money for projects like repairing hurricane damage, restoring wetlands and preventing flooding in communities across the nation. This level of opposition virtually assured that Bush would have a veto overridden for the first time in his presidency. He has used the veto very sparingly for most of the time he has been in office, but has made more use of it recently. The $23 billion water bill passed in both chambers of Congress by well more than the two-thirds majority needed to vacate a veto and make the bill law. Bush objected to the $9 billion in projects added during negotiations between the House and Senate. He hoped that his action, even though it is sure not to hold, would cast him as a friend to conservatives who demand a tighter rein on federal spending. But Bush never vetoed spending bills under the Republican Congress, despite budgetary increases then, too. AP_ 11/2/07

Florida lawmakers urge President Bush to sign water bill

President Bush has promised to veto a water resources bill passed by the House and Senate, but because it contains funding to restore the Everglades, the Republican governor of Florida and the state's Republican senator have sent the president letters asking him not to veto it. The state's Democratic senator and Democratic members of its House delegation have sent similar letters to the president. NPR audio_ 10/15/07

Senate approves $23 billion water projects bill, ignores Bush veto threat

The Senate, ignoring a veto threat from the White House, authorized $23 billion in water projects Monday, including work to restore the hurricane-ravaged Louisiana coast and Florida's Everglades. The measure, passed by the House earlier this year, was approved 81-12. It now goes to President Bush, who threatened a veto after the bill's anticipated cost ballooned by $9 billion as projects were added in negotiations between the House and Senate. The Senate vote was approved by a veto-proof margin and the bill's supporters said they are optimistic that if the president rejects the measure, his veto will be overridden by two-thirds vote. "He knows it's going to be overridden," said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., a leading supporter of the widely popular measure that would give a green light — if money is approved — to hundreds of water projects in virtually every state. AP/Yahoo!_ 9/24/07

What's in the bill for your state? Download pdf of full text of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007

Bill tightens regs on base water contaminant
The nation’s top environmental agency would be required to tighten regulations on a contaminant found in several military bases’ drinking water under legislation introduced on Capitol Hill today.  The bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a health advisory and a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation, which is a legally enforceable public water system standard, to limit levels of trichloroethylene, a metal degreaser, according to a press release.  TCE is one of the volatile organic compounds found in the water supply in two base housing areas at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where 10 contaminated wells were shut down in 1985. Lejeune is one of 23 military bases recently listed as having contaminated groundwater by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.  Army Times_8/1/07

White House targets water projects bill

President Bush will veto a $20 billion water projects bill unless lawmakers remove the billions added for new plants and new costs shifted onto the federal government, the White House said Wednesday.  The veto threat came as the House prepared to take up the bill, loaded with $5 billion in new drinking water and wastewater treatment plants proposed by Senate and House negotiators.  Rob Portman, White House budget director, and John Paul Woodley, Jr., the Army's assistant secretary of civil works.wrote to four Senate and House members whose committees oversaw the legislation.  They noted the bill's authorization now "significantly exceeds the cost of either the House or Senate bill and contains other unacceptable provisions ... the president will veto the bill."  Congress must not increase the Army Corps' already huge backlog of $38 billion in authorized projects by adding new ones for wastewater, drinking water, sewer overflows, waterfront development, transportation and abandoned mines - all of which are "outside of and inappropriate for the mission" of the Army Corps, Portman and Woodley wrote.  Nor should it approve a bill, they wrote, that would adopt new cost-sharing language for projects "that would shift potentially billions of dollars of cost" from local governments onto federal taxpayers.  Washington Post_8/1/07

Download pdf of full text of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007

House bill would trump Supreme Court Clean Water Act rulings

Congressional hearings began Tuesday on what may be the most important Clean Water Act legislation in 30 years.  The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee scheduled two committee hearings this week on the current state of the Clean Water Act in light of two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions as well as administrative actions that are jeopardizing federal protections for the majority of the nation's streams, rivers, and wetlands.  Witnesses will address legislation aimed at correcting the problem, known as the Clean Water Restoration Act (HR 2421).  The bipartisan bill reaffirms and clarifies Congress' intent to protect all the streams, wetlands, ponds, and rivers throughout the United States from unregulated pollution.  The legislation is sponsored by Representative James Oberstar, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and currently has 165 cosponsors.  Environment News Service_7/19/07

H.R. 2076. A bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that the District of Columbia and States are provided a safe, lead-free supply of drinking water. Introduced April 30, 2007 by Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC and Henry A. Waxman, D-Los Angeles. Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Full text of this legislation.


U.S. Senate approves $14 billion water bill
A $14 billion bill passed Wednesday by the Senate would improve navigation on the upper Mississippi, help restore the Louisiana coast and authorize hundreds of projects that senators sought for their states.  The Water Resources Development Act, approved 91-4, also takes steps to assure that the Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for federal water projects, bases its work on sound economics and science. Corps projects have a history of being tainted by waste and abuse.  The bill is “about making sure that the water infrastructure in this country is up to the task that it faces,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who leads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  The bill enjoys wide popularity in Congress; a similar bill passed the House last month on a 394-25 vote. But it has had trouble passing in recent years because of criticism of Corps operations and charges that the measure is full of pork-barrel spending.  The original water project act, passed in 1986, envisioned renewal every two years. But the last bill to clear Congress was in 2000.  The White House said it opposed both the House and Senate bills because they were too expensive, assigned the Corps projects outside its main missions and increases the federal cost-share for many projects.  News Examiner Enterprise 5/17/07

Water projects bill tests transparency ambitions
A massive water bill approved Wednesday in the Senate was the first ever to include language identifying which senator requested which pet project, but watchdog groups say there's still a long way to go toward keeping taxpayers informed.  The Senate approved the bill, which includes millions of dollars for Texas projects, on a 91-4 vote.  Steve Ellis, vice president for the spending watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, said the Senate deserves credit for disclosing senators' pet projects. But he said he'd give senators a "D-minus" on how well they followed their own rules to improve transparency on so-called earmarks before the bill went to a vote.  "The only reason it isn't an 'F' is because this is the first Senate bill to go through the earmark transparency process, so they get a little bit of benefit of the doubt," Ellis said.  The $14 billion water projects bill authorizes hundreds of flood damage, navigation, ecosystem and water recreation projects in almost every state in the country.  Houston Chronicle_5/16/07

Senate takes up water projects bill

Sponsors of a $14 billion flood control and navigation bill contended Thursday they've dealt with the waste and abuse problems that have blocked passage of the legislation for years.  "We have a bill that meets our communities' and our nation's acute and unmet water infrastructure needs and it does it in a fiscally responsible way," said Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., as the Senate began debate.  There's still tough scrutiny ahead for the Water Resources Development Act, with its hundreds of Army Corps of Engineers projects to reduce flood and storm damage, improve waterways, restore ecosystems and expand recreation areas.  Before coming to a final vote, probably early next week, lawmakers are expected to propose amendments setting up a commission to prioritize Corps projects and deal with a $58 billion backlog of authorized but dormant projects.  Seattle Post Intelligencer_5/10/07

House passes delayed water projects bill

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a massive water projects bill that has languished for years over its price tag and how the Army Corps of Engineers does business.  The overall cost of the bill is at least $15 billion. Supporters of the bipartisan measure, passed by a 394-25 vote, say it's needed to fund hundreds of projects in nearly every state to improve flood protection, modernize the nation's waterways and restore the environment.  The Water Resources Development Act includes $1.8 billion for construction of seven new locks on the upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers and another $1.6 billion for ecosystem restoration along the rivers.  Farm groups and shipping interests have been pushing for years to upgrade the lock system to help speed grain-laden barges to Southern ports.  Billions more are targeted for restoration of the Florida Everglades and for hurricane and flood protection in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast in the wake of damage from Hurricane Katrina.  Similar measures passed in both the Senate and the House last year, but they never made it out of conference committee before the end of the session. Senate consideration of nearly identical legislation is expected later this year.   The White House opposes the bill, arguing that it's even more expensive than the $10 billion version considered last year. The Bush administration wants states to share more of the cost for certain projects and ensure that they are economically and environmentally feasible.  Seattle Post Intelligencer_4/19/07

American Water Works Association (AWWA) to testify before Congress on protecting water sources from agricultural run-off

Water professionals from across the United States will gather on Capitol Hill April 17-18 to
raise critical water issues with Congressional lawmakers during the AWWA Water Matters! Fly-In. In addition to hundreds of Congressional visits that will occur over the two days, Wiley Stem, assistant city manager of the City of Waco, Texas, will testify April 19 on AWWA's behalf before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources. AWWA's testimony will address the impact of pollution run-off from agriculture
supplies on drinking water. AWWA will urge enforcement of the Clean Water Act and other environmental statutes that protect source water from pollution. AWWA will urge Congress to oppose attempts to remove phosphorus and other constituents of animal waste from coverage under Superfund, which can serve as an important tool of enforcement. AWWA also will
encourage Congress to make the protection of drinking water supplies a top priority in the Farm Bill expected to pass this summer. News Release_ 4/16/07

Florida's U.S. Rep. Ron Klein seeks federal funds to replace hurricane satellite

Saying it's "unacceptable" to lose a satellite critical to developing hurricane forecasts, Klein plans to make finding federal funding for a replacement top priority. "It's totally unacceptable, with what this country's been through, that we won't have all the necessary forecasting equipment available to us," the Boca Raton Democrat said Monday. Officials of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say it would cost $375 million to $400 million to replace the QuikSCAT, which already has outlived its life expectancy and could die at any time. They further note that kind of money isn't available. The QuikSCAT, which stands for Quick Scatterometer, is equipped with a sensor that provides tropical meteorologists with a storm's wind patterns. The problem: When the satellite was launched in 1999, it was designed to last only five years. Sun-Sentinel_ 4/10/07

House OKs $1.7 billion clean-water bill"

The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly endorsed federal help for communities faced with deteriorating sewage systems, ignoring White House warnings that the cost was too high.  The legislation, approved 367-58, would spend $1.7 billion over five years in federal grants to states and municipalities to modernize wastewater systems and control sewage overflows that pollute rivers and streams and pose health risks.  Supporters cited Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the nation's wastewater infrastructure will face a funding shortfall of $300 billion to $400 billion over the next 20 years.  The White House, in a statement released Tuesday, said the administration strongly opposes the bill, stating that the money approved was "unrealistic in the current fiscal environment."  It added that the bill could also encourage municipalities to delay starting sewer infrastructure projects while they wait for federal subsidies.  The EPA says there are roughly 772 communities serving some 40 million people with the older and more vulnerable combined sewer systems. Most are located in the Northeast and Great Lakes areas, with some in the Pacific Northwest.  WKRN.com_3/7/07

South Dakota's Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth and Senator John Thune criticize cuts to Lewis and Clark water system in President George W. Bush's budget blueprint
The system is a partnership of 15 cities and five rural water districts in South Dakota, Iowa and southwestern Minnesota that would get treated water from wells near the Missouri River through 337 miles of underground pipe. Democrat Herseth and Republican Thune both say the 15 (m) million dollars proposed for the 2008 budget year isn't enough. Bush recommended 21 (m) million dollars for the 2007 budget year, but Congress never passed the spending bill including that money. As a result, the 400 (m) million-dollar water system likely will receive the previous year's allocation of 17-point-five (m) million. AP/WKBT_ 2/6/07

December, 2006

National drought information bill to be signed by President Bush
Every year droughts cause between $6 and $8 billion in estimated losses to the national economy. According to several Texas economists, losses in the early 2006 droughts cost an estimated $1.5 billion in Texas alone. At that time, Governor Rick Perry declared drought disasters in 254 counties. The bill creates the National Integrated Drought Information System and designates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the lead agency. NOAA would be responsible for creating a drought early warning system and improved communication efforts with the public. This will be a comprehensive system helping national, state and local entities better predict, monitor and mitigate the problem. Southlake Times_ 12/13/06

U.S. House of Representatives passes bill to compensate South Dakotans for land lost to Missouri River water projects

The bill was sent to President Bush’s desk for his signature. The bill would allow South Dakotans to buy back land bought by the government in the 1970s during construction of the Pierre Canal and Blunt Reservoir, key components of the Oahe Irrigation Project that was later shelved. Some parcels of land will also be transferred to the state of South Dakota, U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said in a written statement. U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson co-sponsored the measure, which passed the Senate late Thursday. The Senate also passed legislation Thursday that would provide compensation to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe for land lost to the Oahe dam and reservoir north of Pierre. But the House did not act on that bill, meaning it will have to be reintroduced when the new session of Congress begins in January. AP/Rapid City Journal_ 12/10/06

Senate passes measure to oversee Army Corps' water projects

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' design of flood-control projects, which was criticized after Hurricane Katrina, would be subject to outside oversight under a measure passed by the U.S. Senate today.  The legislation, approved in voice vote, would require a panel of engineers, biologists and economists to review the Corps's choice of projects that cost more than $40 million. The panel would be appointed by the Secretary of the Army, which supervises the Corps.  The vote was a victory for environmental and taxpayer groups that pushed for a proposal co-sponsored by Senators Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, and John McCain, an Arizona Republican. The Senate voted to add their amendment to a $12 billion water resources measure and reject one supported by business groups that would have provided more limited oversight.  Bloomberg_7/19/06

New Mexico senators introduce water grant legislation

Legislation involving the expansion of a federal water assistance program that will affect New Mexico has been introduced by U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, R-NM, and U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-NM. The New Mexico lawmakers are sponsoring the legislation, authorizing the Water 2025 grant program, as a way to provide communities and water systems with a means to gain federal assistance "for projects related to water conservation, water use efficiency, water markets, enhanced water management, or actions to prevent water-related crises or conflicts in watersheds," says a news release issued jointly by the legislators. Over the past three years, Water 2025 grants have been awarded to the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, Elephant Butte Irrigation District, the city of Las Cruces and three others. The legislation authorizes the Secretary of Interior to provide grants on a competitive basis to plan, design, construct and implement improvements in an effort to conserve water, adds the release. For fiscal year 2007, the federal Bureau of Reclamation has requested $14.5 million for Water 2025, a $9.6 million increase over the fiscal year 2006 enacted level, says the release. New Mexico Business Weekly_ 4/10/06

November, 2005

U.S. Congress votes to double funds to fight world's No. 1 killer: Unsafe water

A widely unnoticed bill that makes access to clean water a central aim of U.S. foreign assistance was approved by the House of Representatives and Senate earlier this month. The Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005 "puts water as a top priority and a cornerstone for foreign aid," and will get clean water "to people in greatest need," said Camille Osborne, director of public affairs for Water Advocates, a Washington, D.C.-based non-governmental organization (NGO). On average, about 3,900 children die every day because of water-borne illnesses, often after drinking from holes in the ground where water has been stagnant. That means that every 15 seconds, one child dies due to a lack of access to safe water and sanitation. Under the bill, the Secretary of State must develop a strategy with specific timetables, benchmarks, and goals to bring together all federal water programs. Under the Act, the Congressional Budget Office expects U.S. government funding to Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America to double, with $50 million going to Africa. Funding for new projects is allotted in the Foreign Affairs Authorization Act, which is expected to allocate about $250 million for new water programs worldwide, according to Water Advocates. 11/28/05

President Bush signs more than $30 million bill for southern California water projects
The $30.5 billion measure paying for Department of Energy and Army Corps of Engineers projects over the coming year includes $10 million to treat groundwater contamination in the San Gabriel Valley; $9 million to continue removing toxic contamination from Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Laboratory; and $2.7 million to continue dredging the main channel of the Los Angeles Harbor. Pasadena Star News_ 11/22/05

September, 2005

Congress approves funding for three Hawaii water projects

The Hawaii Water Resources Act of 2005 now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign the bill into law. Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie says the new law will authorize federal funding to cover up to 25 percent of the design, planning and construction costs of the projects. The projects include: a seawater desalination and distribution facility on Oahu, a recycled water distribution system expansion project on Maui and a wastewater treatment project on the Big Island. AP/KPUA_ 9/16/05

March, 2005

U.S. House of Representatives passes $25 million percholorate clean up bill for groundwater in California's Santa Clara Valley

The bill by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, would address contamination in water supplies for some 80,000 residents. Cleanup costs to rid the water of the toxin, a common byproduct of defense and industrial manufacturing, have been estimated as high as $150 million. Local authorities would provide matching funds of 35 percent.The same Pombo bill passed the House of Representatives last year but didn't get a vote in the Senate.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 3/14/05

Toledo, Ohio likely to get OK from Bush budget for $450 million sewer project; Other Ohio cities, like Columbus, not so sure

President Bush's proposed budget for the 2006 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, calls for a $500 million cut in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's overall $8.1 billion budget. More than two-thirds of that cutback - $360 million - would come from the agency's Clean Water State Revolving Fund. That fund is the primary source of federal revenue that state agencies, such as the Ohio EPA, use to offer low-interest loans for sewage work. If approved, Mr. Bush's cut in the U.S. EPA budget would result in Ohio's share of that money being cut nearly in half, from $76 million to $40.3 million. Toledo Blade_ 3/7/05

February, 2005

North Dakota senators sponsor legislation to secure federal funds for Devils Lake drinking water project

The budget plan President Bush presented to Congress does not include money for the project, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said. The bill he introduced with Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., would bring the federal share of the project's $15 million cost to $11.3 million, Conrad said. Drinking water for the city of more than 7,000 people comes from an aquifer near Warwick, 18 miles to the southeast. Devils Lake, swollen by more than a decade of wet weather, has covered about six miles of underground pipeline. AP/Grand Forks Herald_ 2/10/05

Bush cuts EPA budget by 6 percent, seeks to cut water programs

This is the second year in a row the Bush administration has sought to cut the EPA budget. Last year, it requested $7.76 billion, or a cut of 7 percent from fiscal 2004. Congress restored the fiscal 2005 budget to $8.02 billion. President George W. Bush cut $361 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a 33 percent decrease from fiscal 2005. The fund provides communities with low-interest loans to fix and update local water infrastructure. Also cut was water infrastructure funding, a move Bush tried last year only to see Congress restore most of the money. The program provides states with funds to expand water delivery, septic and protection systems. A program to clean up pollution from leaking underground storage tanks would receive $73 million under the Bush budget, up 6 percent or $4 million from 2005. One of the disputes that has stalled the president's energy bill in Congress is a fight between Democrats and Republicans over liability for leaks of the fuel additive MTBE, made by companies including Lyondell Chemical Co., Valero Energy Corp. and Huntsman Co. LLC. The Bush administration increased environment homeland security budget by 73 percent to $185 million. The plan would create a $44 million water sentinel program to protect the nation's 9,000 drinking water systems. For the second year in a row the Bush administration attempted to increase funds to clean up the Great Lakes. Last year, Bush requested $45 million and received $22 million from Congress. This year Bush has requested $50 million.  Bloomberg_ 2/7/05

Orange County, California, gets $2.5 million from 2005 federal appropriations bill for groundwater replenishment system to protect against salt water intrusion

The $2.5 million grant is part of $20 million authorized for the project by Congress in 2000. To date, the Groundwater Replenishment System has received $12 million of federal funding. The GWR System will take highly treated sewer water from the Orange County Sanitation District, currently sent to the ocean, and will purify it to near-distilled water quality. The water will be used to expand an existing underground water barrier, which helps prevent seawater from intruding into the groundwater basin, and will also be naturally filtered into the underground storage basin by the Orange County Water District. Press Release_ 12/23/04

Bush signs historic Arizona water settlement bill

The bill signed by President Bush ratifies settlements of decades-old claims and lawsuits involving several American Indian tribes in Arizona and New Mexico. The bill also resolves a dispute between Arizona and the federal government over how much the state owes to repay costs of building the Central Arizona Project aqueduct. The 336-mile CAP canal system delivers water from the Colorado River to thirsty cities and other users in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Key provisions of the legislation include designating shares of Colorado River water for Indian tribes, which can lease it back to cities for a profit. The water cannot be sold to other states. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/10/04

Congressman proposes Sewage Free Waters Act to block EPA proposal he believes would harm the Great Lakes

The bill by U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak would prohibit the EPA from allowing partially treated human sewage to be pumped into waterways. Stupak's legislation was brought about because of an EPA proposal in November 2003 that would allow publicly owned water treatment facilities to divert sewage around secondary treatment units during heavy rains and then combine the filtered but untreated human sewage with fully treated wastewater. This process is called blending. Fifty-eight members of Congress sent the EPA a letter earlier this year asking them not to loosen the restrictions on sewage dumping. Mining Journal_ 12/6/04

November, 2004

Congress passes $110 million legislation to protect water sources in New York-New Jersey region

The bill sets aside $10 million a year over the next 10 years to protect a vast stretch of southern Appalachian wilderness that provides drinking water to 11 million people in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The legislation will now be sent to the president, who is expected to approve it. New York Times_ 11/20/04 (logon required)

11th-hour Corps of Engineers water projects considered for 2004 federal spending package

Members of Congress and their staffs were busy negotiating which Corps of Engineers water projects would be funded in the Water Resources Development Act. The House passed a $4-billion version of the bill, and a Senate committee drafted an almost $18-billion version. Environmentalists said they feared that whatever package was produced in the closed-door process would not include the reforms that were necessary to prevent these projects from damaging the environment. Los Angeles Times _ 11/19/04 (logon required)

October, 2004

Nez Perce water agreement blocked in U.S. Senate

The legislation, which involves the Idaho and federal governments, water users and the Nez Perce Tribe is being held up on the Senate floor by an anonymous Senator and has virtually no chance of coming to a vote during the "lame duck" session after the election. The agreement requires the approval of the Idaho state Legislature and Congress, the Nez Perce Tribe and Adjudication Judge John Melanson by March 31, 2005. The legislation represents years of negotiations to resolve claims by 180,000 water users that ran against the Nez Perce claim to nearly all the water in the Snake River under an 1800s treaty. Twin Falls, Idaho, Times-News_ 10/27/04

President Bush signs $395 million CalFed water bill

The landmark California water bill helps restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that feeds the nation's most productive farm land and provides drinking water to 22 million Californians. Bush's signature came after six years of debate and negotiations. The legislation authorizes feasibility studies for several major new storage projects and includes $90 million for reconstructing levees. It increases water flows to thirsty Southern California and requires a study on restoring the Salton Sea, among numerous other measures. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 10/26/04

Legislation to end long-standing Arizona water disputes passes Senate

The bill determines how much Arizona owes the federal government for construction of the Central Arizona Project, the 336-mile canal system that moves Colorado River water to Phoenix, Tucson and other communities in the state's thirsty central and southern region. The bill also settles Indian water rights, some of which have been in dispute for decades.

"It's the biggest water settlement in the history of the United States," said Sen. Jon Kyl. The House is expected to vote on the measure after the November election.

feet of water. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 10/11/04

U.S. Senate sends $14.5 billion drought, hurricane aid bills to President Bush

The bulk of the $11.6 billion hurricane money will be directed toward Florida, a crucial election state that bore the brunt of hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. The $2.9 billion aid for farmers in drought-hit states will help voters in other key election states like Ohio and Wisconsin. But in a move that angered some lawmakers, Republican leaders in the House had insisted that the agriculture assistance be offset with savings from another farm program which pays farmers for land, water and wildlife stewardship. Republicans did not insist on offsets for the hurricane money. Reuters_ 10/11/04

Top congressional Republicans must decide the fate of a $14 billion drought, hurricane aid bill

The Senate must decide whether to approve the House measure. While passage before the election seems likely, many senators want more generous disaster aid or oppose the $2.9 billion in cuts to a land conservation program that the House approved to finance the drought assistance. After weeks of opposing a $3 billion drought package approved by the GOP-run Senate as too costly, House Republicans finally advanced their own $2.9 billion proposal and added it to the hurricane measure by voice vote. Though President Bush has not requested drought aid, the White House may prove reluctant to scuttle a package this close to the election. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 10/7/04

House passes $395 million CalFed water bill, sends it to president

The bill to authorize the California Federal Bay-Delta Program, better known as CalFed, seeks to satisfy often-warring groups of farmers, environmentalists and residential users with provisions on storage, restoration and recycling. It also ensures a reliable water supply for millions of users and represents the first major changes to California's water systems since the 1960s. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 10/7/04

September, 2004

$50 million perchlorate clean up bill for southern California clears House of Representatives

The bill would pay for groundwater cleanup in the Santa Ana River Watershed which includes San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties. Perchlorate, a chemical used in rocket fuel and other explosives, has tainted wells that supplied water to 250,000 people. The federal fund would be administered through the federal Bureau of Reclamation. Riverside Press-Enterprise_ 9/29/04 (logon required)

House of Representatives passes $25 million perchlorate cleanup bill for groundwater in California's Santa Clara Valley

The Santa Clara Valley Water District last year discovered perchlorate in its groundwater basin, which serves some 80,000 residents. Cleanup costs have been estimated between $2 million and $150 million. Perchlorate is an ingredient in defense and industrial manufacturing that has been found in drinking water supplies in some two-dozen states. It has been linked to damage to the thyroid and may be especially harmful to infants. The problem is widespread in California because of the state's many current and former defense sites. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/21/04

Senate Energy and Commerce Committee endorses landmark Gila River water agreement for Arizona, the largest such tribal settlement in U.S. history

With this settlement, Indian tribes would control nearly half the water that flows through the Central Arizona Project Canal and, in all, enough water to serve a population of nearly 4 million people. The CAP supply represents most of the non-groundwater still available for future growth. For urban water users, the deal will add certainty to the water supply, allowing cities to plan for future growth. Critics say the settlement gives the tribes too much water, especially in the middle of a drought. Supporters say without an agreement, the tribes would have moved ahead with a lawsuit that sought even more water than they agreed to in the deal. Arizona Republic_ 9/16/04 (logon required)

Senate passes $395 million bill for California water projects

The long-fought CalFed water bill authorizes $395 million to restore California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and ensure a reliable water supply for millions of farmers and residents. The sweeping, six-year bill would enact the first major changes to California's water systems since the 1960s. Differences with a version passed by the House in July must still be resolved before the legislation can go to the president for his signature. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/15/04

Upriver, downriver interests clash in U.S. Senate bill on Missouri River water

Drought-ravaged communities along the upper Missouri River would keep more water, and downstream barge shipping would halt immediately, under a measure that cleared a Senate committee. The battle over who gets more water erupted after lake levels plummeted to all-time lows at the big reservoirs in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota this spring and summer. Along the lower reaches of the Missouri, barge shipping will end early this year, in mid-October, as the Army Corps of Engineers cuts releases from the reservoirs to conserve water. Senators from both regions exchange words. AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch_ 9/15/04

Senate approves $36 million domestic security measure that includes drought aid: Missouri River water sharing surfaces in a second bill

The price tag of the Homeland Security measure grew to about $36 billion as senators bowed to pressure from farm-state lawmakers and added $3 billion to help growers and livestock producers -- mostly in the Midwest -- suffering from drought. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/14/04

Proposed $1.2 billion Navajo water settlement too costly say New Mexico congressmen

Representative Tom Udall and Senator Pete Domenici say the price tag could cause it to stall in Congress. The Navajo Nation may have to consider the withdrawal of $372 million for the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project from the proposed settlement to help lower the cost. The Interstate Stream Commission and the Navajo Council have yet to vote on the settlement. AP/News4KOBTV_ 9/8/04

July, 2004

Federal bill for $25 million perchlorate clean-up in California's Santa Clara Valley approved by House Committee on Resources
The legislation would fund projects by the Santa Clara Valley Water District to restore clean, safe drinking water to thousands of people whose wells are affected by perchlorate before completion of what is expected to be a decades-long cleanup of the groundwater basin. A 10-mile plume of the contaminant stretches south from a former Olin Corp. road flare-manufacturing site.  Morgan Hill Times_ 7/16/04

California lawmakers back $1 billion western U.S. desalination and water reclamation research projects
Research and development projects on reclamation, desalinization and other techniques would be conducted by federal laboratories and coordinated by
Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M. The "Department of Energy National Laboratory Water Technology Research and Development Act of 2004" is sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators and House members led by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 7/14/04

New Mexico to receive $66 million for water projects in the southwest corner of the state and up to $128 million if it builds a Gila River diversion project in a deal with Arizona
The New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission endorsed the agreement between the states. Now, it's up to Congress to give final approval to the deal, which is part of a broad Arizona water-rights settlement. State officials said the agreement is needed to assure New Mexico's right to water from the Gila River. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 7/13/04

House, Senate proposals boost water infrastructure security funding
AWWA analysis of Department of Homeland Security spending bills for fiscal year 2005. Both the House and Senate would boost spending over fiscal year 2004 levels for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection programs, which include critical infrastructure outreach and evaluation activities such as the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center.Bills are HR4567 and S2537.  AWWA_ 7/7/04

Bill proposes local control of arsenic levels
American Water Works Association (AWWA) reports Idaho Representative C.L. Otter introduced HR 4717 to give small public water systems flexibility in complying with EPA's arsenic rule. It also applies to radon, radium, uranium, disinfection by-products and several other contaminants. Water Quality Association_ 7/1/04

June, 2004

Senate floats $35 billion water infrastructure funding measure
Although considered a long-shot for passage in this election year, the draft by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla, reveals where GOP leaders want to go with such a bill, which has long been advocated by water and wastewater utilities struggling to keep up with rising expenses to comply with regulations, improve facility security and upgrade aging infrastructure. AWWA_ 6/17/04

Wisconsin congressmen seek $50 million to connect town of Waukesha to Milwaukee drinking water system and end radium problems

The congressmen asked the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for the appropriation so the town can come into compliance with the radium standard set in the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996. The committee is now considering the reauthorization of that act and the level of funding that will be needed as the act expires in July. Waukesha Freeman_ 6/16/04

House Appropriations Committee approves $64 million for the three-state Missouri River Lewis amd Clark Rural Water project and two other proposals
The funding total includes $18.2 million for Mni Wiconi water project and $17 million needed to finish construction on the Mid Dakota water system. Aberdeen News_ 6/17/04

Federal bill to speeds up plan to pipe rural Nevada water 256 miles to Las Vegas

The measure introduced by Nevada lawmakers also would allow more growth in Lincoln County, where most of the land is owned by the Bureau of Land Management. Las Vegas Review Journal_ 6/17/04

Bill would fund perchlorate groundwater cleanup in California's Santa Clara Valley
The bill by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, chair of the House Resources Committee, provides $25 million in federal funds for cleanup costs. Local authorities are required to provide matching funds of 35 percent. Last year the Santa Clara Valley Water District discovered a 10-mile plume of perchlorate contamination in its groundwater basin, which serves some 80,000 residents. Residents drink and cook with bottled water to avoid ingesting the toxin, said Mike Di Marco, water district spokesman.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 5/20/04

Bush panel will study Great Lakes cleanup
President Bush created a task force on Tuesday to coordinate the federal government's policies toward the Great Lakes. But Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, said "This is now the eighth study of these problems in three years. This one is going to find what the other seven found, which is that 95 percent of the problems of the Great Lakes have to do with invasive species, mercury hotspots and urban runoff."

New York Times_ 5/19/04 (logon required)

Divided U.S. House committee passes $389 million CalFed California water bill
The measure, which costs the same as a similar bill approved earlier by a Senate committee, is meant to restore California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and ensure supplies for millions of farmers and residents. Some Democrats objected strongly to a provision that would allow the secretary of the interior to approve water projects without congressional signoff. Congress would be given 120 days to disapprove of projects, but would not be asked to approve them. Democrats and environmentalists said that would allow potentially controversial dams and other storage projects to win approval with insufficient oversight. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 5/5/04

American Water Works Association Comments on proposed strengthening of federal lead regulations  Press Release_ 5/4/04

Vermont Sen. James M. Jeffords to propose tougher federal water rules for lead

The bill will require water utilities to test more regularly for lead, alert the public if lead levels rise and pay hefty fines if they fail to solve the problem quickly. The proposed legislation, the "Lead-Free Drinking Water Act of 2004," would be the first major effort to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act in 14 years. Washington Post_ 5/4/04 (logon required)

April, 2004

U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approves long-stalled $389 million federal water funds for California
The legislation enables new reservoir work and river protections. Newly backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and several dozen California farming, water and business organizations, the legislation authorizes the so-called Cal-Fed water program through the year 2010. Marin Independent Journal/McClatchy Newspapers_ 4/29/04

November, 2003

Requiem for an Energy Bill: It died from its excesses.  New York Times 11/26/03 

Press Release and PDF of Clean Water Act letter to Bush signed by Congressmen.  Press Release 11/26/03

American Rivers praises House members for clean water stance.  Press Release 11/26/03

Half of U.S. House members sign letter asking Bush to keep Clean Water Act.  AP/ABCNEWS 11/25/03

Republicans to try again for federal energy bill in 2004. Fate of MTBE protections undecided.  Reuters 11/25/03

Federal energy bill dead for this year, says GOP spokesperson. Key issue was legal immunity for producers of MTBE.  Reuters 11/24/03

Senate gives up on federal energy bill for this year. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 11/24/03

White House putting pressure on House GOP leaders to drop MTBE from federal energy bill.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 11/24/03

GOP scrambles to find two votes for the federal energy bill. Could be delayed until next year.  Reuters 11/24/03

Oil companies will pay Santa Monica, California hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up MTBE pollution.  Reuters 11/21/03

GOP to try again today for Senate approval of federal energy bill. If it doesn't pass by tomorrow, it's probably on hold until next year.  Reuters 11/23/03

GOP tries to rework, revive energy bill after it hits Senate roadblock. New offers to opponents.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 11/21/03

Federal energy bill blocked in the Senate, but not dead.  Reuters 11/21/03  

MTBE waiver blamed for U.S. energy bill setback. GOP seeks two more votes.  Reuters/Forbes 11/21/03

Portions of federal energy bill could get tied to national appropriations bill or other measure that Congress must pass before Thanksgiving. GOP likely to try one more time for Senate passage of full bill.  Reuters/Forbes 11/21/03

Santa Monica settles with oil companies on MTBE. City reportedly gets several hundred million dollars.  Reuters/Forbes 11/21/03

AWWA chief hails energy bill filibuster as "a victory for everyone who values clean drinking water and common sense." Press Release  11/21/03

Santa Monica, California expects to announce a settlement today in its MTBE drinking water pollution suit. Settlement funds from a dozen oil companies will clean up the water supply.  Business Wire 11/20/03

Coalition of Senate Democrats and Republicans blocks federal energy bill. GOP will try again.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 11/21/03

Senate narrowly fails to end debate on federal energy bill. Delay could push final action into next year.  Reuters 11/21/03

Senate debate on federal energy bill splits along regional lines. One or two votes may be decisive, senator says.  Reuters 11/20/03

Largest U.S. American Indian organization urges Senate to kill federal energy bill.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 11/20/03

Senate Democratic Leader Daschle says he'll vote for energy bill.  AP/Aberdeen News 11/19/03

Senate begins federal energy bill debate. Neither side asks for a preliminary vote. Lawmakers to work through the weekend and be home for Thanksgiving.  Reuters 11/19/03

Senate debates $23 billion energy bill. Shopping for votes led to huge price tag, says Senator.  AP/Washington Post 11/19/03

Federal energy bill would help Texas MTBE producers. Classic face-off between Texas and New York over the gasoline additive.  AP/Star-Telegram 11/19/03

Consensus on federal energy bill arose one project at a time.  N.Y. Times 11/19/03

N.Y. Senator says federal energy bill means bad news and big bills for New York. Press Release 11/19/03

California Senator Boxer says 30 million in state impacted by MTBE. Press Release 11/19/03

Senate may act on federal energy bill today. Supporters say MTBE opponents may slow action but can't kill it.  Reuters/Forbes 11/19/03

House passes federal energy bill. Senate fate unclear. MTBE is a "deal breaker," says one Senate Democrat.  Reuters 11/18/03

AWWA leader says MTBE found in 55% of metropolitan systems tested. Calls federal energy bill legal protections for MTBE producers "brazen political giveaway."  U.S. Newswire 11/18/03

U.S. House OKs broad federal energy bill. Senate vote is next.  Reuters/Forbes 11/18/03

Federal energy bill's unofficial cost climbs to at least $23.4 billion, Democrats say. Most of the benefits aimed at the oil and natural gas industry, including MTBE producers.  Reuters 11/17/03

Assn. of California Water Agencies urges Congress to oppose federal energy bill. Protests court suit immunity for producers of MTBE.  Business Wire 11/17/03

House-Senate conference committee meets today on federal energy bill. Measure would limit liability of MTBE producers.  Los Angeles Times 11/16/03

Federal energy bill shields makers of MTBE from more than a dozen lawsuits filed since September over drinking water contamination.  AP/Newsday 11/15/03

GOP leaders make public federal energy bill. Vote expected next week. MTBE lawsuit protections still an issue.  Reuters 11/14/03

Coalition of mayors, city council members, county officials, water system executives and public works directors urges Congress to strip MTBE legal protections from federal energy bill. Press Release 11/14/03

GOP makes public federal energy bill. It keeps lawsuit protections for producers of MTBE. Printed version available tomorrow. Reuters 11/14/03

MTBE: GOP leaders in House and Senate say they've reached agreement on a federal energy bill. No printed version until at least tomorrow but some details to be released later today.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 11/14/03

Congress considering $100 million to preserve water sources in the northeast. But money is tied to controversial forest logging plan.  Philadelphia Inquirer 11/11/03

Association of State Dam Safety Officials to ask Congress for a national dam financing solutions program. ASDSO estimates upgrading or repairing all non-federal dams would exceed $36 billion. Press Release 11/10/03 

Release of federal energy bill delayed again. GOP leaders say last minute issues being resolved. Final MTBE details not known.  Reuters 11/10/03

Maine lawmakers oppose legal protection for MTBE producers. Federal energy bill draft shields water pollutant from lawsuits.  Portland Press Herald 11/10/03

Written in private, federal energy bill to become public today.  Reuters 11/9/03

Details of federal energy bill to be made public Monday.  Reuters 11/7/03  

Democrats threaten to block federal energy bill. Oppose legal protections for MTBE producers, among other issues.  Reuters 11/6/03

Environmentalists call emerging energy bill a disaster. MTBE manufacturers would be protected from water pollution lawsuits.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 11/5/03

White House offers plan to salvage energy bill. Ethanol favored over MTBE.  Reuters 11/4/03

October, 2003

President Bush urges Senate and House Republicans to quit fighting over energy bill.  Reuters 10/30/03

Senate Finance Committee chair urges Bush to intervene on US energy bill. Work on the bill has been mired for more than a week in Republican disputes.  Reuters/Forbes 10/22/03

Stubborn standoff between House and Senate Republicans delays vote on energy bill at least until next week. Bill protects MTBE producers against law suits for water pollution.  Reuters 10/20/03

Vote on federal energy bill, including MTBE liability, not likely this week. Still no GOP consensus on key issues.  Reuters 10/20/03

GOP Congressmen tentatively agree to protect producers of the gasoline additive MTBE from environmental lawsuits.   No firm agreement yet on date the lawsuit ban takes effect.  AP/Yahoo 10/19/03

House vote on federal energy bill scheduled for Tuesday. No word on MTBE status.  Reuters 10/17/03

U.S. mayors, elected leaders, water utilities challenge latest House version on MTBE. Retroactive energy plan makes bill worse, coalition says. 10/17/03

September, 2003

North Dakota complains Bush administration playing favorites. South Dakota gets water projects. North doesn't.  Grand Forks Herald

Connecticut's Thames River could be key to a regional water system. Bill passed by U.S. House of Representatives provides $7 million for a pipeline under the river.  The Day

Indianapolis, Indiana will get $35 million for water projects in a bill approved by the US House of Representatives.  AP/WISH-TV

U.S. House of Representatives committee approves $880 million California water bill. But outlook for full Congressional approval not good.  Fresno Bee/Contra Costa Times

House bill on California's landmark water/environment program ready for legislative action. Measure could "shape the future of western water supplies," says backer.  Business Wire



More News


Federal Legislation
2011 All rights reserved. Acceptable Use Policy | Privacy Statement Policy