ECC Supports the WATER Act
ECC has lent its support to the federal Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act, which would provide dedicated funding to keep U.S. water and sewer systems updated and protect drinking water for generations to come.
To amplify this endorsement, ECC is participating in a petition campaign organized by Daily Kos soliciting signatures from the public in support of the bill as a way to support the addressing of water-related injustices experienced in Flint, Michigan, and elsewhere. The petition drive is open until July 10. You can add your name here.
WATER Act funding would be provided to state revolving funds (SRF) by ending the deferral on U.S. income taxes on offshore corporate profits to generate revenues of more than $60 billion a year to fund repairs, maintenance, and improvement of the nation’s water infrastructure. EPA estimates that $697 billion is needed to upgrade U.S. drinking water infrastructure and wastewater systems over the next 20 years.
An added benefit, according to the Clean Water Council, is that every $1 billion spent on water infrastructure would create 20,000 to 27,000 jobs for Americans.
And a fact sheet from the office of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) notes that the tax fix “would generate revenues in excess of $60 billion a year. Nearly $35 billion will be earmarked for our public water and sewer systems—creating between 700,000 and a million jobs that cannot be outsourced.”
Besides providing a permanent dedicated source of funding to SRFs, the WATER Act would also:
- Provide SRF grants for replacement of lead service lines to owners of private lines;
- Create a new grant program to fund public schools’ testing and replacement of drinking water infrastructure due to lead;
- Require EPA to coordinate a study about water affordability, discrimination and civil rights violations by water and sewer providers, public participation in water regionalization efforts and water shutoffs;
- Create a new grant program for the repair, replacement or upgrading of septic tanks and draining fields; and
- Limit drinking water SRF funding to publicly-owned, operated and managed utilities.
ECC Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Felipe Floresca said: “Clean drinking water should be affordable for every American. The controversy in Flint, Michigan, is just one example of benign neglect by government. As part of our foreign aid program, this nation funds water infrastructure projects around the globe. It is a sad commentary when safe, affordable drinking water is not guaranteed to every American. Water is not a commodity; it is a basic right.”