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Senate WRDA Bill Heads to the Floor

Within less than a week, the 2016 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) has been introduced and marked up by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.  Committee Chair, Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Ranking Minority Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA) cosponsored the bipartisan legislation that traditionally funded navigation, inland waterways, and harbors projects through the Corps of Engineers.  This measure, however, significantly expands the reach of the legislation to encompass amendments to both the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act.  The bill now has a number – S. 2848 – but as of this writing, still is not available via Congress.gov.  Of particular interest to state drinking water programs are the provisions that make up to $300 million in grants available to water systems for lead service line replacement and other lead-related actions.  An additional $1.4 billion would be dedicated to small and disadvantaged communities to make infrastructure improvements in support of public health protection and enhance their efforts to comply with SDWA regulations.

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a hearing to gain clarity on several WRDA-related activities but has not introduced a bill.