NUCA Statement On House EPA Appropriations Bill

Utility Contractor Association Aghast About Mammoth Cuts To Promised Water Infrastructure Resources

Carlson

The chief executive officer of the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), Doug Carlson, issued the following statement on the House Appropriations subcommittee markup of the FY2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill:

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“Cutting infrastructure spending is bad policy. These projects are the foundation for building a healthy, vibrant economy. America’s water and wastewater systems are already deficient, and the best hope millions of Americans had to repair these aging systems was found in the 2021 infrastructure bill. The catastrophic funding cuts of $2 billion from EPA’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds have the possibility of harming millions of Americans.

“Water and wastewater infrastructure are the arteries keeping American families healthy. In the most recent ASCE report card for America’s drinking water infrastructure, those vital arteries were given a grade of C-. Wastewater infrastructure was rated even worse, at a D+.

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“Cutting funding for this vital health infrastructure should be unthinkable. Our nation’s 20-year drinking water infrastructure need is estimated by the EPA through their latest DWINSA report at $625 billion in future construction. That’s a 32% increase over the last report, which foresaw a $472.6 billion need. With a water main break every two minutes, losing six billion gallons of safe drinking water every day, Congress recognized these fragile and often obsolete systems required new resources and provided them in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

“The massive $2 billion in cuts suggested in the House’s EPA appropriations bill to water and wastewater programs are counter-productive and will now leave many American communities at risk. Several at-risk minority communities, such as those in Jackson, Mississippi, are now able to rebuild a municipal water system neglected for years because of the new resources derived from the EPA’s water programs. Besides the job creation funded through these programs, these new or repaired systems will for many decades ahead provide clean water and sanitary wastewater removal from millions of American homes and businesses.

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“Nothing is more fundamental for human life than safe, clean water. NUCA strongly urges that the House appropriations committee restore and increase the resources promised by Congress in 2021 to restore and rebuild our nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure.”