“America needs comprehensive water infrastructure legislation that will cut Washington red tape, create jobs, and keep communities safe. We have reached a bipartisan agreement with the House of Representatives to accomplish these important goals. This bill will help rural communities and cities. It will grow the nation’s economy and speed up important projects. Congress should pass this bipartisan consensus bill and send it to President Trump for his signature.” -- Chairman John Barrasso
“This water infrastructure bill shows how we can improve our communities, bolster our economy and help keep American families safe. I’m glad members of both the Senate and House were able to find areas of agreement and reach a compromise on a major water infrastructure bill that will create good-paying jobs here at home, incentivize businesses to buy and use American products, invests in critical infrastructure like our country’s ports and waterways, and expands our investments in drinking water for the first time in more than two decades. Further, the bill will help coastal communities prepare for the growing risks of climate change and help communities across America invest in local water infrastructure needs. This legislation also creates greater transparency and improves collaboration between local and federal governments to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently. Today’s progress brings us one step closer to seeing this important infrastructure bill cross the finish line.” -- Ranking Member Tom Carper
“Water Resources Development Acts – WRDAs – are critical to building the infrastructure that moves goods, grains, resources, and energy products throughout the entire Nation, from our coasts to the interior, and everywhere in between. WRDA, as included in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, will ensure that we stay economically competitive with other countries. When I became Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, I prioritized returning Congress to the regular consideration of these infrastructure bills, and I am proud that we have an opportunity now to send the third WRDA during my chairmanship to the president.” -- House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster
“This bipartisan legislation will authorize water infrastructure projects developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will strengthen our coastal communities, help keep us competitive in the world economy, and restore our coastal environment. These critical water infrastructure projects will improve our Nation’s ports, harbors, and waterways, and create and sustain thousands of good-paying American jobs. I applaud my colleagues for their bipartisan work, and I look forward to getting this bill passed and signed into law.” -- House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio
America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018
S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, supports our nation’s economic competitiveness by increasing water storage, providing protection from dangerous floodwaters, deepening nationally significant ports, and maintaining the navigability of inland waterways across the country. The legislation also cuts red tape, is fiscally responsible, and increases state and local stakeholder input for water infrastructure projects.
Creates Jobs and Grows the Economy
- Authorizes or reauthorizes important water infrastructure programs and projects
- Maintains navigation routes for commerce and the movement of goods to keep America competitive in the global marketplace
- Deepens important coastal and inland ports
- Increases water storage and supply for rural America
- Repairs aging irrigation systems to grow agricultural based economies
- Invests in the maintenance and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure
- Invests in the development of a strong water utility workforce
Cuts Red Tape
- Transfers a Corps permit for a flood control project to a non-federal interest when that interest takes over the project, eliminating the need to obtain a new permit
- Makes it easier for needed local projects to move forward as part of the Corps’ 7001 approval list
- Includes billions of dollars in deauthorizations and reduces the deficit
- Reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act (WIFIA) and includes a modified version of the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now Act (SRF WIN Act) to allow for leveraging millions in non-federal funds for water projects
- Ensures local communities have more input into which projects receive funding
- Creates a process where the Corps must provide certainty to states and localities who are applying for approval on water storage projects
Protects Lives and Property
- Reduces flooding risks through the construction and maintenance of dams and levees
- Invests in repairing aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure
- Gives small and rural communities assistance in the cleanup and prevention of pollution in their drinking water and wastewater systems
- Provides technical assistance to states to help complying with expensive and burdensome EPA regulatory standards that states cannot afford
Key Provisions in America’s Water Infrastructure Act would:
- Cut bureaucratic red tape to ensure local communities have more control over which projects receive support.
- Deauthorize billions of dollars and reduce the deficit.
- Reauthorize the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds for the first time since 1996. Giving states certainty that they can address the drinking water needs of communities.
- Allow for sediment management plans for Army Corps and Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs to restore the active water storage capacity of these reservoirs. Many of these reservoirs have lost a significant amount of water storage capacity due to sediment build up.
- Increase transparency during the permitting process for new water storage projects done by a state or local government. This provision will allow the Army Crops to more clearly and quickly assess and communicate the purpose and need, on proposed new or modified water storage projects.
- Increase overall authorizations for certain Continuing Authorities Programs (CAP).
- Authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to provide $25 million in grants to nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance and training to small, rural and tribal water systems in order to come into compliance with the Clean Water Act.
- Reauthorize WIFIA and the SRF WIN Act which authorizes millions of dollars to accelerate investments in our nation’s water infrastructure, leveraging to billions of dollars in investment.
- Extend until 2030 the program to address the deferred maintenance needs of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) dams. These dams protect communities across the West from dangerous floods.
- Establish a ten-year pilot program to expedite the review of applications for permits to expand small city (80,000 people or less) reservoirs to increase water storage and supply if the city water supplies have been polluted from legacy Department of Defense (DOD) activities where mitigation is occurring.
- Extend the Indian Irrigation Fund through fiscal year 2028. This fund was created in the WIIN Act and is used for maintenance, repair, and replacement activities of Indian irrigation projects.
Read the text of America’s Water Infrastructure Act here.
Read the section-by-section of the legislation here.
Additional Infrastructure Legislation
The Brownfields program, which is administered by the EPA and has strong bipartisan support, provides grants and technical assistance to states, local governments, tribes and redevelopment agencies to support the assessment, cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites. Reauthorizing the program was a key element of President Trump's infrastructure plan.
On March 22, 2018, Congress passed legislation to reauthorize and enhance the Brownfield’s program. The legislation provides liability relief for state and local governments that acquire these contaminated properties for cleanup and re-use. It also provides liability relief for Alaska Native villages or Alaska Native Corporations that received contaminated land from the federal government under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
The legislation also provides funding for technical assistance grants to small communities and rural areas, expands the scope of eligible grant recipients to include non-profit organizations, and authorizes funding for multi-purpose grants to tackle more complex sites.
The bill was signed into law by President Trump.
On July 12, 2017, the committee passed S. 822, the BUILD Act, with Chairman Barrasso’s substitute amendment. The chairman’s amendment included additional liability protection for state and local units of governments as well as Alaska Native Villages and Village Corporations.
Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act
America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 would reauthorize the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act (WIFIA). WIFIA will promote leveraging millions in non-federal funds for water projects.
On October 5, 2017 the Senate passed WIFIA.
On April 5, 2017, the EPW Committee moved forward WIFIA at a Business Meeting.
On March 28, 2017, the EPW Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife held a hearing entitled, “Legislative Hearing on S. 518, a bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to provide for technical assistance for small treatment works, S. 692, the “Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act of 2017” and S. 675, the “Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act.”
Read the text of the legislation here.
Carbon Capture Infrastructure
The bipartisan Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act would clarify that carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) projects and CO2 pipelines are eligible for the permitting review process established by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This will help incentivize the development of carbon capture infrastructure projects.
Learn more about the USE IT Act here.
On April 11, 2018, the EPW Committee held a legislative hearing on the USE IT Act.
On March 22, 2018, a bipartisan group of Senators joined with sponsors Chairman John Barrasso and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to introduce the USE IT Act.
Read the text of the USE IT Act here.
Infrastructure Relief for Tribal Communities
On March 22, 2018, Congress authorized spending levels for the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. This authorizes over $24 million for the Irrigation Rehabilitation and Renovation for Indian Tribal Governments and Their Economies Act (IRRIGATE) Act and over $38 million for the Dam Repairs and Improvements for Tribes (DRIFT) Act.
The IRRIGATE Act will help address the deferred maintenance needs of tribal irrigation construction projects to ensure that:
- Risks to public or employee safety or to natural or cultural resources are mitigated
- Management and efficiency of the tribal irrigation programs are not stifled
The DRIFT Act will address the needs of aging dams that create flood risks by:
- Directing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to establish a dam safety program
- Directing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to establish a program that provides guidance to tribes on best practices for the mitigation and prevention of floods
- Permitting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide assistance to tribal water infrastructure projects
The bills were signed into law by President Trump.
Hearing Legislative Hearing on S. 518, a bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to provide for technical assistance for small treatment works, S. 692, the “Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act of 2017” and S. 675, the “Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act"