Pelosi: House Addresses America's Clean Water Needs
Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the three clean water bills that passed with bipartisan support this week in the House: H.R. 720, the Water Quality Financing Act; HR 700, the Healthy Communities Water Supply Act; and HR 569, the Water Quality Investment Act.
'This week, the House of Representatives approved, with strong bipartisan support, legislation on clean water funding that had been bottled up, passing three bills to clean up sewage and develop new water supplies.
'Today's bill, H.R. 720, funds the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides for low-cost loans to communities that need to repair and build wastewater treatment plants and sewage lines. H.R. 720 will help clean up our rivers, lakes, and coastal waters, so that Americans can fish and swim without fear of pollution.
'In recent years, the Republican-led Congress slashed the clean water fund by 34 percent. After the fund expired in 1994, the Republican leadership refused to bring legislation to the floor reauthorizing the fund in an effort to avoid the Davis-Bacon requirement of paying a prevailing wage to workers on federally-funded projects. Today, with Democrats voting unanimously against it, the House defeated a Republican-sponsored amendment to waive Davis-Bacon, ensuring that H.R 720 provides workers who build these wastewater projects good and fair wages.
'On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 569 to provide $1.8 billion in grants to local communities to prevent sewer overflows. In many communities with infrastructure, sewers overflow whenever there is a heavy rain, sending raw sewage into rivers and lakes. On Thursday, the House passed a H.R. 700 setting up a pilot program to increase usable water supplies through water conservation and reuse of wastewater, an approach that is crucial in the arid West and Southwest.
'Without new investments in wastewater treatment, we could lose many of the gains our nation has made since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972.
'In conjunction with the creation of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming earlier this week, Democrats are taking our country in a new direction to preserve our environment. This week, we have rededicated ourselves to addressing America's clean water needs.'