Senate Measure to Support Climate Change Costs

When the Senate returns in September, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) who chairs the Water & Wildlife Subcommittee of the full Environment & Public Works Committee, plans to introduce a new bill that would call on EPA to create a matching grant program for “at risk” drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities to undertake climate change projects to better manage extreme weather events.

The proposed Senate bill would be a companion to the Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act (HR 765) introduced in the House in February and referred to the House Energy & Commerce, Transportation & Infrastructure, and Natural Resource Committees.  None of those Committees have scheduled a hearing or taken action on the bill as introduced by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA).  The House bill authorizes $50 million for FYs 14-18, with the caveat that not more than 20% may be used for flood damage, risk, and vulnerability projects.  The 50-50 match grants would be made to system owners or operators to increase resiliency or adaptability to ongoing or forecasted change to hydrologic conditions.