Earthjustice Praises Bipartisan Water Infrastructure Bill Moving Forward
Today, the Senate approved the Drinking Water and Infrastructure Act of 2021. The bill takes several important steps such as reauthorizing the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds, creating a new low-income decentralized wastewater grant program, and a new Indian reservation drinking water program. It increases the funding levels for drinking water assistance to small and disadvantaged communities and, importantly, takes first steps toward creating a sorely needed long-term water affordability program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Earthjustice looks forward to introduction of accompanying water infrastructure legislation in the House of Representatives. We are confident that between the bipartisan support for important new programs, and bipartisan support for significantly increased funding levels, Congress and the White House can seize the moment and begin addressing water infrastructure crises around the country.
The following statement is from Julian Gonzalez, Earthjustice’s legislative counsel for the Healthy Communities program:
“This bipartisan action is essential to fix old and insufficient water infrastructure across the country, but particularly in low-income communities of color. Black and brown neighborhoods are most likely to face aging infrastructure resulting in public health risks, to have unaffordable water rates, and to lack access to safe water and indoor plumbing. Accordingly, this legislation must be the first step, not the final step. These communities have been disinvested in for generations, long before the COVID-19 pandemic further devastated them. We look forward to work with lawmakers to create a bigger jobs and infrastructure package, with more robust funding for removal of lead service lines, more grants to disadvantaged communities and tribal nations, and more federal support to make water rates affordable for everyone.”
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.