Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published guidance for states on implementation of the $43 billion in water infrastructure funding allocated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This is the largest investment of its kind ever made by the federal government. Today’s memo provides requirements and recommendations for how states should work with communities and use the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) to ensure that stakeholders across the country are collaborating to ensure clean and safe water for all.
Earthjustice, along with our clients and partners across the country, have long-advocated for much-needed equitable investment in water infrastructure. There are several key components of this EPA guidance that will ensure that funds are directed to and allocated by communities who most need them, including:
- “Additional subsidies” of grants and negative interest rates in the Infrastructure Law’s SRF provisions must be allocated to disadvantaged communities.
- EPA’s commitment to work closely with states and community-based organizations to provide technical assistance enabling disadvantaged communities to develop, submit, and obtain funding for their projects,
- Prohibiting any of the $15 billion set aside for lead service line replacement for use on partial replacements.
The following is a statement from Julian Gonzalez, Earthjustice’s legislative counsel for the Healthy Communities program:
“Earthjustice applauds EPA for issuing important and timely guidance. The billions of dollars provided by Congress for water infrastructure in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act must be distributed as equitably as possible. We must ensure that communities of color and low-income communities who carry the heaviest pollution burdens receive these funds. EPA’s guidance contains important steps toward that goal like ensuring that grant funding is for disadvantaged communities and prohibiting partial lead service line replacement. We look forward to working with EPA, states, and tribes on building more resilient infrastructure in disinvested communities.”