Waltz, Brown, Rubio, Scott Introduce Bill to Modernize State Water Quality Allocation
Washington, January 30, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) and Anthony Brown (D-Md.) have introduced legislation to modernize the national water quality allocation formula to states. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
H.R. 5628, the Clean Water Allotment Modernization Act, would update the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) formula, which determines the amount of money states receive for water quality projects. The current formula has not been updated since 1987.
Florida currently receives the third-lowest allotment per capita from the CWSRF, despite having the third-most significant water infrastructure needs nationwide. The CWSRF provides states annual funding for low-interest financing of water infrastructure projects, including wastewater systems (septic-to-sewer conversion), stormwater management, estuary projects, nonpoint source and water reuse projects.
The House version of the bill is currently supported by seven other members of the Florida delegation, including Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, Al Lawson, Brian Mast, Bill Posey, Francis Rooney, Ross Spano and John Rutherford.
“As a lifelong Floridian, one of my first goals when I came to office was to improve our state’s water quality,” said Waltz. “I quickly discovered Florida has been shortchanged by the outdated Clean Water State Revolving Fund. In order to keep our water clean, every dollar matters.”
“It’s time to bring our water infrastructure into the 21st century,” said Brown. “Modernizing this critical program will reduce pollution and protect important environmental resources like Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. This is a common sense change that’s long overdue.”
“I am proud to join Senator Rick Scott and Congressman Michael Waltz in introducing the Clean Water Allotment Modernization Act,” Rubio said. “This legislation would nearly triple Florida’s current Clean Water State Revolving Fund allotment each year, enabling more than $730 million in new funds per decade for clean water infrastructure. Protecting and restoring water quality in Florida’s aquifers, wetlands and coastal waters is an economic imperative, and this needed reform will help deliver critical environmental benefits for current and future generations of Floridians to enjoy.”
“Protecting Florida’s waterways is vital to the health of our families and environment. I’m proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Rubio and Congressman Waltz to make sure our communities have the resources they need to improve water quality so Florida families can count on a clean water supply and enjoy the beautiful natural resources that make Florida great,” Scott said.
“The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program allows states to help communities upgrade and expand their wastewater infrastructure to better protect our waterways,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein. ”Updating the allotment will allow the CWSRF program to better address Florida’s current and future needs by increasing the availability of low-cost-financing to support important projects designed to improve water quality in critical watersheds and water bodies throughout our state like the Indian River Lagoon, Biscayne Bay and our Outstanding Florida Springs.”
If passed, the legislation would update the CWSRF allotment formula to include Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Water Needs Survey data, decennial Census population counts and states’ Quality Impairment Component Ratio. These factors for modifying to the allotment formula are consistent with EPA’s 2016 recommendations to Congress, Review of the Allotment of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Moving forward, the allotment will be updated every four years to reflect the most recent needs, population, and impairment data.
The adjusted formula would significantly increase Florida’s allotment, enabling the state to finance billions of dollars in new clean water infrastructure over the next decade. Florida’s population and water infrastructure demands have substantially increased since 1987 and has also struggled with water impairment issues like harmful algal blooms and red tide.
The updated formula would not increase federal spending.
“By fixing this formula, we can ensure Florida gets fair funding to address the water demands of our Atlantic Coast, the Indian River Lagoon and our rivers and springs,” Waltz said.