Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In Congress

Bill Introduced to Create National Infrastructure Bank for Water

Sen. Jeff Merkle (OR) introduced the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2012 (S. 3626).  The bill would permit the Environmental Protection Agency to make loans or loan guarantees directly to certain entities for improvements to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems.  Presumably this program would not complete with existing state revolving fund (SRF) programs because it is aimed a large projects (minimum financing of $20 million).

This may seem like a boon to big cities, but considering that most of us live in urban areas that are served by large drinking water and wastewater utilities, it makes sense.  While they’re at it, Congress could increase funding to the SRFs and raise the allotment for private activity bonds, may be even targeting a portion of it for water improvements.

Senate Signals Interest in Tackling Energy Policy

Senators Ron Wyden (OR) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) indicated that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources  Committee will likely be looking at several pieces of legislation next year aimed at updating the nation’s energy policy.

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