August 6, 1999
POTWs Superfund Relief Closer as H.R. 1300 Makes Headway
In a significant development this week that brings AMSA closer to gaining Superfund liability relief for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), key democrats on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee have lent support to H.R. 1300, the Recycle America's Land Act of 1999. In May, AMSA successfully lobbied to include language in H.R. 1300 that protects POTWs from Superfund liability. Championed by House Water Resources & Environment Subcommittee Chair Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), the narrow, consensus-based bill is supported by a large bipartisan group of cosponsors. Now, with the committee's passage of the bill and the breakthrough support of Rep. Robert Borski (D-Pa.), ranking democrat on the House Water Resources & Environment Subcommittee, and Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), ranking member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, the bill moves closer to a floor vote. H.R. 1300 may yet face hurdles in the House Commerce and Ways & Means Committees, which share jurisdiction over Superfund.
The Senate has tabled efforts to put together its own Superfund package. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman John Chafee (R-R.I.) has indicated that his committee will track the progress of H.R. 1300. The administration, however, remains opposed to H.R. 1300. Despite democratic support in the House for H.R. 1300 and amendments to the bill, EPA Administrator Carol Browner reiterated the agency's reasons for opposing H.R. 1300. The National Office will continue to track the bill's progress and keep the membership notified of further action.
House Appropriators Fund Biosolids Partnership, SRF
In response to efforts of AMSA and others on Capitol Hill, the House Appropriations Committee has restored some of the administration's cuts to the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) to $1.175 billion and has funded the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) at $1 million for the year 2000. The final measure is not expected for a floor vote until September. The lawmakers' support of the SRF may be an important signal for future efforts by AMSA to secure increased federal funding for wastewater infrastructure. The committee's continued backing for the NBP is also significant because it will allow the partnership to press forward with the critical next phases of its technical and public information efforts.
AMSA Seeks Increased Financial Survey Responses . . .
The 1999 AMSA Financial Survey: A National Survey of Municipal Wastewater Management Financing and Trends is nearing its final stages before publication, and the participation of as many agencies as possible is critical for several future AMSA initiatives related to funding and management. The 1999 survey marks the seventh survey conducted by the Finance & Information Services Committee on financial trends in the wastewater community. In addition to questions on financing, staffing trends and salary comparisons will be examined for the first time in this year's survey. The results will provide valuable information to guide national, state and local policy. By participating in this survey, wastewater agencies have the opportunity to help AMSA chart the trends of the water quality community. AMSA members can access the 1999 survey form online by visiting www.amsa99.bv.com. Members will need their Member Pipeline usernames and passwords to access the forms. Completed survey forms should be faxed (202/833-4657) to Jeni Hornback, AMSA's Information Systems Manager, as soon as possible but no later than August 20.