Administration Proposes Dramatic Cut to Key Clean Water
Cuts will directly impact the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer
District as well as wastewater treatment agencies across the nation
CLEVELAND, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 2, the Bush
proposed dramatic cuts to clean water funding at the House Appropriations
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing on the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) fiscal year 2007 budget. This
reduction would constitute the third consecutive year of cuts to the State
Revolving Loan fund under the Bush administration. As a result, Ohio's share
will continue to fall from $75.36 million in 2004 to $39.17 million in 2007.
"It's impossible to sustain the level of progress the EPA wants to see in
regards to our capital program with these kinds of cuts," said Northeast Ohio
Regional Sewer District Executive Director Erwin J. Odeal.
The Administration is seeking to cut EPA's budget for FY 2007 by over $300
million (from FY 2006's enacted level of $7.625 billion to $7.31 billion).
The vast majority of this reduction would be achieved by a proposed cut of
approximately $200 million (from $887 million to $687 million) to the Agency's
Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program. The CWSRF, a loan program
that helps local communities repair and replace aging treatment plants, has
been the primary source of federal support for clean water infrastructure
projects since its creation in 1987.
Studies by the EPA, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the
Accountability Office (GAO), and the Water Infrastructure Network (WIN)
estimate a water infrastructure-funding gap exceeding $300 billion over the
next 20 years. "Although wastewater treatment agencies recognize that improved
utility management and rate increases at the local level will help address
this daunting funding gap, we realize that it's not enough," said Odeal.
In response, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), of
which the District is a member, is calling on Congress and the White House to
support the recently introduced Clean Water Trust Act of 2005, H.R. 4560.
H.R. 4560 is landmark legislation that would create a deficit-neutral, clean
water trust fund to guarantee clean and safe water in America for the long-
term. H.R. 4560 would provide approximately $7.5 billion a year from 2006 -
2010 in loans and grants to cities, counties, towns and townships to address
the backlog of critical clean water projects, meet unfunded mandates, and
improve utility management based on state-determined priorities.
According to NACWA's Executive Director Ken Kirk, pursuing other sources
of funding is not a choice. "Without a long-term, sustainable federal-state-
local partnership, communities will not be able to tackle essential capital
replacement projects needed to meet federal Clean Water Act mandates and
improve the quality of the nation's waters," said Kirk.
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District operates three wastewater
treatment plants and related water pollution control facilities on Lake Erie,
the Cuyahoga River and Rocky River. The District serves 59 suburban
communities and the City of Cleveland and employs approximately 620 people.
Contact: Kim C. Jones, (216) 881-6600, ext. 6882
SOURCE Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District