Washington, D.C.--Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, urged the Senate to pass S. 1039, the Water Treatment Works Security Act of 2003.
Chairman Inhofe expressed frustration that a bill that passed the EPW Committee with bipartisan support and the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin of 413 to 2 is being obstructed on the Senate floor.
“S. 1039 is a critical piece of legislation that will bolster security at water treatment plants all across the country,” Inhofe said. “This is not just my view, but the view expressed by 413 Republican and Democratic members of the House.”
“Again, this is a bill designed to protect Americans from terrorist acts. So whatever differences remain must be worked out expeditiously. We must pass this legislation as soon as possible both for the good of municipalities that depend on federal security assistance and for the country as a whole.”
S. 1039 authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency to provide grants to municipalities that conduct a vulnerability assessment or address a need identified in the assessment. EPA also can provide technical assistance to small treatment works to identify and address their security needs.
Additionally, the bill authorizes $15 million for the EPA Administrator to research best practices and new technologies that would help treatment works better secure their facilities and processes from terrorist attacks. Overall, the bill authorizes $235 million to fund these initiatives.