Monday, February 9, 2009

House Passes Stimulus Bill

The House of Representatives passed the American Recover and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1) on January 28. The bill would put additional funds into several infrastructure related programs. Federal Facilities and LandMany provisions of the bill provide funding for construction of improvements on federal facilities and land under the management of several departments.

Rural Water and Waste
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s water and waste program would receive an additional $1.5 billion.

State Revolving Fund
An additional $6 billion would go to the state revolving fund (SRF) for wastewater and $2 billion for drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency would have to make the money available to states within 30 days. The states would have to commit half the money within one year and the rest within two years. This is much more realistic than the 120 day requirement in earlier proposals. The bill would also require at least half of the stimulus package funds for the SRF to go to municipalities. The potential for funding investor-owned systems is also affected by law of the states that operate the SRF program, so it is uncertain how much this requirement will effect the availability of funds for investor-owned systems.

Water Resources and Flood Control
The Natural Resources Conservation Service would receive $400 million for watershed and flood control improvements and operations. The Corp of Engineers would receive $2 billion for construction. The Department of Interior would receive $500 million for water and related resources.

Other Infrastructure and Environment Bills
The economic stimulus package isn’t the only thing working its way through Congress. Some additional bill are:
-Sustainable Water Infrastructure Investment Act of 2009 (HR537)--Removes the volume cap for private activity bonds for water and sewage facilities.
-Water Use Efficiency and Conservation Research Act (HR631)--Funds activities related to water use efficiency and conservation.
-Produced Water Utilization Act of 2009 (HR469)--Funds technologies for the use of water produced in developing energy resources and for other purposes.

Additional articles and posts:
$819B Makeover: Obama, Dems Promise Stimulus Changes
Congress to Consider Recovery Bill
Drinking Water Not Getting as Much of Stimulus Package as Advocates Hoped
Economic Stimulus Package Would Increase Environmental Funding
Stimulus bill passes House with $2B for drinking water
Water legislation — new or progressing

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