A Repeat of 2011? Dirty Water Riders in the House Interior Appropriations Bill

Today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will mark up their appropriations bill for fiscal year 2013. This bill authorizes spending for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Interior (DOI), and other agencies like the Forest Service.

Unfortunately, in a repeat of 2011, the House Interior-EPA Appropriations bill includes significant cuts to critical funding for water infrastructure as well as a number of dirty water riders that put polluters before people.

Significant Cuts to Critical Water Infrastructure

The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) provide funding directly to the states to fund water infrastructure projects to better manage wastewater and polluted runoff and protect safe, clean drinking water. Under this bill, the Clean Water SRF would be cut from $1.5 billion in FY12 to $689 million in FY13 and the Drinking Water SRF would be cut from $919 million in FY12 to $829 million in FY13.

The bill also removes the dedicated funding for green infrastructure, water efficiency, and environmentally innovative projects that communities used to implement forward-thinking water management solutions that protect clean water and save them money. With billions of dollars needed for adequate water infrastructure, we need to protect the funding for these programs that are critical to the health and safety of our communities. Please contact your representative and ask them to oppose deep cuts to the SRFs.

Dirty Water Riders

The current bill also includes several dirty water provisions, many of which were included in last year’s FY2012 House Interior-EPA bill. For now, the bill includes a rider that would prevent the EPA from updating its stormwater discharge regulations or permits to manage runoff from post-construction sites by substantially delaying the rulemaking process.

Another would substantially amend the Clean Water Act to exempt stormwater discharges from silviculture sources, overturning a recent court decision requiring pollution control permits for stormwater runoff from logging roads. A frequent target in Congress, another dirty water provision would stall EPA’s progress on clarifying which water bodies are protected under the Clean Water Act, putting the drinking water of the 117 million Americans at risk.

As the House moves forward on the House Interior-EPA Appropriations bill, tell your representatives to stand strong for clean water and oppose significant funding cuts to our water infrastructure and any dirty water riders.