WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works’ (EPW) Committee, today voted in favor of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (DWWIA 2021), legislation she introduced and co-wrote along with Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the EPW Committee; Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Chair of the EPW Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife; Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the EPW Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife; and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The legislation passed by a vote of 89-2.
The legislation authorizes more than $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater resource development projects across the country with a focus on upgrading aging infrastructure, addressing the threat of climate change, investing in new technologies, and providing assistance to marginalized communities.
“This legislation is a bipartisan, responsible, and meaningful investment that will advance infrastructure to help local communities keep their drinking water safe and clean. With investments to identify and prevent water loss, test water quality, increase resilience in infrastructure, and recruit the next generation of our nation’s water workforce, the priorities laid out in the bill speak to the bipartisan goal of ensuring neglected water systems are not merely tended to, but made stronger. I’m so proud of the work we’ve done—Chairman Carper and others—together on this legislation, and I’m even more thrilled to see it pass this chamber today. Passing this bill in a bipartisan way like we did today shows the American people that their elected officials in Congress can work collaboratively together on infrastructure. This bill also represents the solid work that comes out of good-faith negotiations. I’m hopeful that as we move forward with our work on other infrastructure priorities that we remember this moment,” Ranking Member Capito said.
The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (DWWIA) makes significant investments in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) grant and loan programs, including the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Loan Funds, or SRFs, and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) that are vital to support our nation’s water infrastructure.
This bill will invest more than $35 billion in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country. Of that $35 billion, more than 40 percent can be directly be used to benefit small, disadvantaged, rural, and tribal communities through additional subsidization from the State Revolving Loan Funds or direct grant programs.
This week, Ranking Member Capito delivered several floor speeches where she outlined merits of the legislation. Click here and here to watch.
The legislation will:
- Invest significantly in small, disadvantaged, rural, and tribal communities through grant programs that promote environmental justice.
- Provide states with increased funding and program flexibilities to invest in community water projects that address aging infrastructure and improve water quality through the State Revolving Loan Funds.
- Connect households to public water and wastewater services, decentralized wastewater services, and improve sanitation in Alaskan rural and native villages.
- Increase investments in lead abatement through grant programs and assistance.
- Promote resiliency projects to address the impacts of climate change and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
- Increase investment to address recruitment, training, and retention challenges facing the water and wastewater utility workforce.
- Invest in the drinking water and wastewater needs of tribal communities.
- Provide significant investments in technical assistance and new and emerging technologies that result in cleaner, safer, and more reliable water.
The legislation is also co-sponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).
The legislation also has a diverse and growing coalition of more than 70 supporters. Supporters include: The National Rural Water Association, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The American Public Works Association, The National Association of Clean Water Agencies, The National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, The U.S. Conference of Mayors, The Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities, The Portland Cement Association, The National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association, The American Society of Civil Engineers, The Associated General Contractors of America, The AFL-CIO, The Laborers’ International Union of America, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, The National Wildlife Federation, and many more.
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