Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - October 3, 2001
For Immediate Release: October 3, 2001
Contact: Adam Krantz, 202/833-4651, AMSA
AMSA Backs Key Amendment to Farm Bill that Will Improve Water Quality
The nations wastewater utilities believe that this weeks vote on a key amendment to the 2001 Farm Bill (HR 2646) marks a critical step towards ensuring the protection of the nations water quality and a future in which all sources of pollution both point and nonpoint share in the cleanup and protection of our vital water resources. To this end, the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) staunchly supports the Amendment to the 2001 Farm Bill offered by Reps. Boehlert, Dingell, Kind, and Gilchrest that would create a new Watershed Quality Incentive Program. This program would provide billions of dollars in incentives aimed at improving water quality in watersheds nationwide. New funding for this program would start at $450 million in Fiscal Year 2002 and increase to $700 million in FY 2006 and through FY2011.
AMSA is a national trade association representing over 260 of the nations publicly owned wastewater utilities. AMSA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day. AMSA members are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nations waters and public health. As AMSAs Executive Director Ken Kirk says, The nations public wastewater utilities have been working hard to meet the lofty goals of the Clean Water Act but this cannot be done without the agricultural community playing its part. This Amendment offers an innovative, incentive-based program to bring agriculture into the water quality community and may be a key step in ensuring that nonpoint sources in general play their part in ensuring that our vital water resources are safe and clean.
AMSA supports the Amendment because it provides for the following:
- In allocating funds, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to take into consideration locally developed watershed plans. USDA will enter into contracts with farmers and ranchers "whose activities affect water quality . . . to implement and maintain nutrient management, pest management, soil erosion practices, and other conservation activities that protect water quality and protect human health."
- Establishing pilot programs in "15 watersheds to improve water quality in cooperation with local water utilities." Utilities would measure water quality and target incentive payments to improve water quality.
- A "Nutrient Reduction Pilot Program" would allocate up to $100 million annually to help five impaired watersheds reduce nitrogen and phosphorous applications, via incentive payments to farmers and ranchers.
These efforts are urgently needed to address environmental problems such as agricultural runoff of pathogens, pesticides, fertilizers, and sediments, and other pollutants that affect the day to day operations of the nations wastewater utilities. Local communities must often spend large sums of money to correct or compensate for agricultural runoff and this Amendment offers a strong, non-regulatory improvement that addresses this problem.
Our nations water quality depends on the innovative approach that the Farm Bill Amendment exemplifies and AMSA urges all Congressmen to lend their support to it.
1816 Jefferson Place, Washington, DC 20036-2505 202.833.AMSA 202.833.4657 FAX