NUCA Statement On House Interior/EPA Appropriations Bill

The chief executive officer of the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), Doug Carlson, issued the following statement after the 33Y-27N vote for the House Appropriations Committee markup of the FY2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill:

Carlson

“Cutting infrastructure spending is bad policy. Funding our nation’s drinking water infrastructure projects solely through earmarks is even worse policy.

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“Every American community deserves clean drinking water and safe wastewater management. To pick and choose winners through the lottery of House earmark appropriations on the critical subject of public health is fundamentally unfair to every American community, especially for something as essential as providing clean water to our citizens.

“Taking away water infrastructure funding from the two EPA state revolving funds does not only hurt citizens in 2024—it shrinks the funding pool for years to come. Directed water infrastructure spending reduces the funds available over the long-term because earmarks are grants, rather than loans issued by the state revolving funds. States repay these loans, which are then recycled back as repaid capital. Earmarks do not repay these funding resources, and ultimately cost states an additional $458 million.

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“Water and wastewater projects are the foundation every community uses 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 in this bill of $2 billion from EPA’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund now have the strong possibility of harming millions of Americans.

“The massive $2 billion in cuts passed in the House’s EPA appropriations bill to water and wastewater programs are counter-productive and will now leave many American communities at risk. The Appropriations Committee sent a very bad bill to the full House, one that the Republican leadership now must clean up.

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