For Immediate Release
Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500
Food & Water Watch Applauds Introduction of Federal Trust Fund for Clean Water Infrastructure
Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
WASHINGTON - "Today, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) introduced legislation to establish a Water Protection and Reinvestment Trust Fund to support investment in drinking water and clean water infrastructure. We applaud Representative Blumenauer for this vital piece of legislation, which Food & Water Watch has advocated for over the past three years.
"Structured and firewalled much like a Highway Trust Fund, the Water Protection and Reinvestment Trust Fund will be generated through the imposition of five new taxes and fees and will be distributed mainly to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds. These taxes and fees include:
• A 4 cent tax on the containers of water-based beverages in glass, cans, plastic that are 5 gallons or less, not including alcoholic beverages, milk, or juice from concentrate.
• A 3 percent wholesale tax on disposable products normally flushed or disposed of through sewer systems, such as soaps, detergents, toiletries, toilet tissue, water softeners, and cooking oils.
• A .5 percent wholesale tax on pharmaceuticals.
• A .15 percent tax on corporate profits over $4 million a year.
"Clean, healthy, affordable water should be something that every American has access to, but many of the pipes that deliver this essential resource are over 100 years old and in dire need of repair. Funding for clean water is falling behind system needs--to the tune of some $22 billion a year--and as a result, many municipalities are struggling to meet federal clean water standards and to maintain and modernize their water systems. The consequences of coping with aging water systems include sewage spills that render our water unsafe for drinking, swimming, fishing, and wildlife.
"Because we cannot always rely on Congress or the president to allocate money to water infrastructure projects, we need to create a dedicated source of federal funding for drinking water and waste water infrastructure so that communities can keep their water safe, clean and affordable. The Water Protection and Reinvestment Trust Fund will create a dedicated source of federal funding so that communities can keep their water safe, clean and affordable for generations to come.
"We look forward to working with Representative Blumenauer to make sure this vital legislation is as strong as it can be, and that it is passed by Congress and enacted to law."
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