Washington, DC -- American Rivers today applauded the United States Congress for passing H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The bill will create jobs, put our nation on the path to economic growth, and transform the way we manage clean water and rivers, bringing real health and quality of life benefits to communities nationwide.
"This is an unprecedented amount of money for clean water and rivers," said Betsy Otto, vice president of strategic partnerships for American Rivers. "It's a real investment in more sustainable water infrastructure for the future, and it will boost health, safety and quality of life in communities across the country."
American Rivers praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) for their leadership on the bill. American Rivers also thanked Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and House Chairmen David Obey (D-WI), James Oberstar (D-MN), and Norman Dicks (D-WA) for their work on the bill. American Rivers praised the bipartisan leadership of Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) for negotiating a compromise that allowed the economic stimulus package to move forward.
The final version of H.R. 1 includes:
- $4 billion for clean water under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund programs
- $2 billion for drinking water under the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, with $1.2 billion set aside from both the clean water and drinking water programs for green infrastructure and water and energy efficiency projects
- $830 million for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, a portion of which will be used for river restoration projects
"The clean water, drinking water, and river restoration provisions in the bill will create jobs, improve the nation's rivers and clean water supplies, and save communities money," said Otto. "This kind of investment represents a sea change, and will ensure that the nation is better prepared to meet the water challenges of the 21st Century. These provisions are a down payment on a better future and will improve the lives of all Americans."
"Thanks to the United States Congress, funding green infrastructure, water efficiency and river restoration projects will provide an immediate stimulus to the economy while improving the safety and quality of life in communities and ensuring that plentiful clean water is available in the future to drive economic growth. Green solutions work better, cost less, and provide more flexibility for managing our water resources in the face of global warming."
As a whole, the bill includes investments that will create high quality green jobs here at home: generating more renewable energy; reducing our oil dependence through increased efficiency and public transit; restoring our parks, wildlife refuges, and forests; and funding local green infrastructure water projects.
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.