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ASDWA Testifies at Energy & Commerce Hearing on Drinking Water

ASDWA’s President-Elect, Lisa Daniels (PA) testified on behalf of the Association during this morning’s House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy hearing.  Titled “Drinking Water System Improvement Act and Related Issues of Funding, Management, and Compliance Assistance under the Safe Drinking Water Act,” the hearing provided opportunities for Members to learn more about the proposed “Improvement Act” content.  Witnesses were asked to focus on elements of the DWSRF, including set-asides, and other SDWA implementation tools such as partnerships, asset management, and training and technical assistance.
Daniels focused her testimony on the value that DWSRF set-aside programs bring to successful implementation of the SDWA.  She shared an example from her own state that demonstrated how capacity development, technical assistance, education and outreach, and the DWSRF all supported the public health needs of a very small, distressed community.
Daniels also spoke of the need for enhanced funding for both the PWSS and DWSRF programs, noting that ASDWA has requested $200M in PWSS appropriations and $1B in DWSRF appropriations for the past several years.  She went on to explain that state drinking water programs believe that these are reasonable funding requests to ensure continued progress in protecting public health.
In general, all of the organizations invited to testify (AWWA, AMWA, NAWC, NRWA, Clean Water Action, and McWane Industries) strongly supported the need to address drinking water infrastructure needs principally (for these discussions) through increases to the funding allocations for the DWSRF.  Consensus was also generally expressed in support of asset management, source water protection, and water system partnerships.
It was heartening to see that numerous members of the Subcommittee as well as the Chair and Ranking Member of the full Committee were present during the hearing.  Questions from the members signaled keen interest in finding a bipartisan path forward and gave the witnesses and opportunity to explain some of their positions in greater detail.  Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ranking Member on the full Committee, did express concerns that the proposed bill under discussion during the hearing did not go far enough in terms of addressing issues such as lead and regulatory processes for emerging contaminants, public transparency and public trust.  He asked that another hearing be held that considers these factors as well as his SDWA reauthorization bill, HR 1071.
You may view a recording of the hearing and download copies of Member statements and witness testimony by going to https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/hr-drinking-water-system-improvement-act-and-related-issues-funding.