Funding for Clean Water CutThe House VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations subcommittee approved its Fiscal Year 2005 bill cutting the EPA's Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) program from $1.35 billion to $850 million.
The House VA-HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations subcommittee approved its Fiscal Year 2005 bill cutting the EPA’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) program from $1.35 billion to $850 million. These cuts will have drastic consequences on water quality financing, public health, economic development and infrastructure construction.
The Contractors Association of West Virginia sent a letter to Rep. Mollohan, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, that stated, “These proposed cuts would undermine West Virginia and other states efforts to address crucial water infrastructure needs. The lack of funding for water and wastewater threatens our environment and the economic well-being our state. West Virginia has nearly a $3 billion water and sanitary wastewater need. Not only is this a health hazard, it hurts the state’s ability to attract economic development opportunities to many parts of West Virginia.
“The SRF programs have provided a perpetual source of funds to build and improve West Virginia and the nation’s vital infrastructure while creating jobs and revitalizing communities. A reduction in the SRF program will have serious consequences on water quality, public health, economic development and construction jobs. You have been a major supporter of infrastructure investment in West Virginia. We hope the subcommittee will leave the SRF fund at the $1.35 billion level.”
NUCA reports the cuts could result in the loss of 23,750 highly skilled jobs at a time when the economy needs to expand. They also report that, according to EPA’s 2002 Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis, there will be a $534 billion gap between funding and projected needs for water and wastewater infrastructure if the federal investment remains under a no growth scenario.
The lack of funding for clean water is in keeping with the current administration’s lack of funding programs for a healthy country. The total EPA budget was cut $613 million from last year, affordable housing was cut by $108 million (less than the $1 billion cut requested by Bush).
Why is it that the Federal Govt. can’t allocate more than $850 million towards clean water but can come up with nearly $100 billion to spend invading and occupying Iraq?