FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Kristina Baum – 202.224.6176
Donelle Harder – 202.224.4721
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today praised the passage of two bills in the U.S. Senate, both of which were reported out of the Senate EPW Committee in April.
“I would like to extend congratulations to Sen. Roger Wicker on the passage of S. 611, a bill that will provide technical assistance to small and rural public water systems in complying with National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. I would also like to congratulate Sen. John Boozman on the passage of S. 653, a bill that establishes grants for applied water supply research to 54 established Water Resources Research Institutes located in each state, territory, and the District of Columbia. These esteemed colleagues have helped lead the way for improved clean water in our country, and I am proud to stand with them in being a good steward of our natural resources.”
S. 653, The Water Resources Research Amendments Act of 2015
S.653 was introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) on March 4, 2015. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA), which provides for grants to 54 established Water Resources Research Institutes located in each state, territory and the District of Columbia for applied water supply research. Each institute is located at a land grant university or another university designated by the governor. First authorized in 1964, WRRA was most recently reauthorized in 2006, in PL 109-471. The current authorization expired in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.
S. 611, the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance
Authored by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and introduced on February 27, 2015, S.611 reauthorizes the Safe Drinking Water Act's (SDWA) technical assistance and training provision for $15 million a year for six years to assist small and rural public water systems in complying with National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. The previous authorization, included as part of the 1996 Amendments to the SDWA, expired in 2004.
Under S. 611, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is authorized to make grants to provide technical assistance. Specifically, the EPA administrator would have authority to direct the funding to nonprofit organizations to provide onsite assistance, regional training, assistance with implementation monitoring plans, rules, regulations, and water security enhancements to ensure compliance with SDWA. EPA would also be required to prioritize the funding to ensure the resources are utilized in the most beneficial ways based on the specific needs of the small and rural communities in each state. The bill included the support of 17 cosponsors.