House Approps Subcommittee Marks Up FY 15 Funding for EPA

Earlier this week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies passed the proposed FY 15 funding measure for EPA.  Overall, the agency would receive $7.5 billion – only a $4.9 million decrease from the Administration’s FY 15 request but a 9% cut from FY 14 enacted levels.  Within the EPA program accounts, the Subcommittee made the following appropriations:  Science & Technology – $716,588,000; Environmental Programs & Management – $2,508,603,000; and State & Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) – $2,946,895,000.
Of particular interest to state drinking water programs, the DWSRF and CWSRF are funded at $757 million and $1.018 billion, respectively; the same levels as included in the President’s FY 15 Budget Request.  No information available, as yet, on PWSS funding levels.  It also appears that the Subcommittee did not include a specific funding category or appropriation for the WIFIA program authorized under the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.  There was mention, however, of a $12.7 million “National Priorities” award for the training and technical assistance competitive award.
As in years past, the measure includes dedicated funding from the DWSRF to support Tribal (up to 2% or $20M, whichever is greater) and Territories (1.5%) grant programs.  In addition, Alaska Native Villages would be funded at $10 million but the US-Mexico Border Program received no funding this year.  In this bill, states must reserve 20% of their DWSRF capitalization grant for additional subsidies to eligible recipients.  While this is similar to past year requirements, the specificity of precisely 20% as the required reservation is new.
New language is included that allows state drinking water programs to use their discretion in determining whether and/or how much of their DWSRF funds can be put toward projects that address green infrastructure, water or energy efficiency improvements, or other environmentally innovative activities.   Unfortunately, the measure also calls for a $40 million rescission to be taken from unobligated funds found in the STAG program account.
The full House Appropriations Committee has not yet announced when it will take up this funding measure.
The House Appropriations Committee has now passed 10 of the 12 FY 15 appropriations measures and 6 of them (Commerce, Defense, Energy & Water, Legislative Branch, Homeland Security, and Transportation & Infrastructure) have been taken up and passed on the House Floor.  At this stage, only funding for the Departments of Labor, HHS, Education & Related Agencies has not even had subcommittee consideration.  The Senate is not quite as far along in its process.  Senate Appropriations has acted on only 7 of the 12 measures (Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, Legislative Branch, Military Construction/Veterans, State & Foreign Ops, and Transportation & Infrastructure) but none have moved to the Senate Floor for a vote.
ASDWA will continue to follow these issues and keep you apprised of developments as they occur.