The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on April 21 released draft text of two periodic reauthorization bills dealing with water – a $17 billion Army Corps of Engineers water resources (navigation and flood control) reauthorization, which also addresses Clean Water Act (CWA) issues, and a $2.5 billion Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) reauthorization.
“America’s water infrastructure supports our economy and keeps communities safe,” said EPW chairman John Barrasso (R-WY). “Our committee is working together to improve the nation’s dams, ports, flood-prevention infrastructure, reservoirs, and drinking water systems. These draft bills will help create jobs and grow the economy.”
“From the infrastructure that keeps our drinking water safe and clean, to the levees, dams and ports that support our communities and economy, these vital parts of American infrastructure are many times overlooked and neglected,” said committee ranking minority member Tom Carper (D-DE).
Why two water bills instead of one? In the Senate, EPW has jurisdiction over the Corps program and the CWA and the SDWA. But in the House of Representatives, while the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has jurisdiction over the Corps and the CWA, the Energy and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over the SDWA. And those committees don’t always get along completely, and even though CWA and SDWA components have been combined in enacted laws before, it’s never a sure thing.
There is no word as to when the EPW Committee will meet to mark up the legislation – all committee meetings are still on hold pending the approval of physical distance procedures per COVID protocols.