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Congress Must Act Now to Protect America’s Water
Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
WASHINGTON - March 2 - While nearly invisible under our homes and streets, America’s water pipes and treatment plants keep our communities livable, our lifestyles possible, and our industries viable. The recent tragedy in Minnesota and pipe explosion in New York has drawn attention to the dangers of neglecting our basic infrastructure. Today, we congratulate Congressman Oberstar and Senators Lautenburg and Boxer for their leadership and call on the Senate to ensure clean, affordable drinking water and safe, swimmable waterways by providing critical funding for water across the United States.
Nearly 35 years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, federal funding for clean water has become an annual political battle. The House measure authorizing $14 billion over four years for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the primary federal funding source for clean water projects, is a good first step that should be embraced and expanded by the Senate. But, given the history of fickle year-to-year funding and the urgency of our water infrastructure troubles, Congress should create a clean water trust fund that would provide a steady, reliable, and equitable source of funding for needed projects across the country.
National priorities that transcend state and local boundaries should receive perpetual funding streams, immune from shifting political currents. Our country already has federal trust funds established for our highways, harbors, and wildlife habitats. Clean water, an essential public resource for all Americans, certainly warrants federal support and deserves the same protection.
Congress should offer a solution that will keep politics out of critical infrastructure financing. It’s time for a trust fund that protects our water and keeps it clean and safe.