Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - July 11, 2003
For Immediate Release: July 11, 2003
Contact: Lee Garrigan, 202/833-4655, AMSA
New AMSA Report Highlights Concerns with EPA’s Water Funding Gap Solutions
The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) publicly released today its white paper, EPA’s Solutions Leave Large Wastewater Funding Gap, responding directly to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed solutions to the growing clean water infrastructure funding gap. Despite a September 2002 EPA report, entitled The Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis, which estimated a clean water funding gap in the hundreds of billions of dollars, the Agency continues to assert that the solution rests solely with local governments. Specifically, EPA maintains that better asset management, more efficient water use, rate increases, and the watershed approach — all local approaches — can alone bridge the funding gap. AMSA’s white paper is available at http://www.amsa-cleanwater.org/temp/2003-06fgap.pdf.
While AMSA believes EPA’s strategies will help somewhat, they cannot work absent a local/state/federal partnership and, specifically, federal support for long-term, sustainable funding to protect our rivers, lakes, streams, as well as our public and environmental health. Other critical infrastructure sectors, such as highways and airports, enjoy the benefits of dedicated federal trust funds and it is time for the nation’s waters to receive equal treatment. The white paper’s conclusion is clear, while municipalities will continue to do their part of the bargain, so too must states and the federal government by implementing a long-term, sustainable financing program to invest in U.S. clean water infrastructure.
As the white paper points out, America’s waters are public goods which provide all Americans with a multitude of beneficial uses. Wastewater treatment facilities, in place to ensure the safety of these waters, provide benefit not only to their own ratepayers, but to downstream members of the public and visitors enjoying the use of clean water resources. In short, the benefits of clean water do not have definable borders. For many smaller cities and towns facing shrinking budgets, the significant investment in physical infrastructure is too much to handle. For many urban centers, population has shifted to suburbs, making the option of raising sewer fees to close the funding gap impossible.
Simply stated, this white paper demonstrates the urgent necessity for Congress to act to create a long-term, sustainable funding source to protect the quality of our nation’s water. Please contact AMSA at the number above with any further questions regarding the white paper.
AMSA is a national trade association representing nearly 300 of the nation's public wastewater utilities who service the majority of Americans. These wastewater treatment officials are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's public health and its water, and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day.
1816 Jefferson Place, Washington, DC 20036-2505 202.833.AMSA 202.833.4657 FAX