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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SUPPORT $5.2 BILLION FOR CLEAN WATER & WATER DRINKING WATER STATE REVOLVING LOAN FUNDS

WASHINGTON, DC, June 8, 2004 --/WORLD-WIRE/-- The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA), along with over two dozen coalition members consisting of water industry and environmental activist groups, sent the letter below to Senate and House Appropriations Committees and VA-HUD Subcommittees seeking increased funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water (SRF).

The coalition is seeking $5.2 billion for the SRF program, more than double the current funding levels, which would help local communities repair and replace aging plants and decaying pipelines, protect public health, and ensure continued progress in restoring the health of America's waterbodies. This growing coalition marks an important step forward in support of clean and safe water and warrants media attention.

To:
Chairman C.W. Bill Young
Ranking Member David R. Obey
Chairman James T. Walsh
Ranking Member Alan B. Mollohan

Dear Representative:
We write on behalf of our millions of members and supporters who urge you to protect human health and the environment by increasing to $3.2 billion the appropriated amount for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) and increasing to $2 billion the appropriated amount for the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund in the Veteran Affairs and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act. These funds will help local communities meet water quality standards, protect public health, repair and replace old and decaying pipelines and treatment plants, and ensure continued progress in restoring the health and safety of America's water bodies. The fully funded SRFs will create approximately 247,000 American jobs, aiding the national economic recovery and keeping good paying jobs in local communities.

This investment is a much-needed down payment to improve our nation's water and wastewater treatment plants and associated infrastructure. Your support for additional funding for the SRFs would help stimulate the economy, create jobs and provide funds for securing our water infrastructure for generations to come. Continual funding of water infrastructure is essential in the U.S. since many systems have antiquated pipes that are 50-100 years old and in need of replacement. Not providing the needed funding to cities and towns throughout the nation for these aging systems will pose a serious threat to public health, the environment and the economy. It is estimated that nationally there are $4.1 billion in projects ready to move forward in less than 90 days that are stalled due to the lack of funding. Increasing the SRF would be a major step forward in the effort to protect our nation's rivers and lakes and to assure clean and safe water for communities across the country.

When the Clean Water Act was passed more than thirty years ago the federal government made a commitment to the American people to clean up the nation's waters. Since that time the federal government's funding of the costs of maintaining a clean water infrastructure in America has decreased by 70%; today the federal government funds a mere 5% of national infrastructure costs. In 1996, the creation of the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund expanded the federal government's role in assuring safe drinking water for every citizen. However, no new funds were dedicated to this cause, money was shifted from the Clean Water SRF to cover the new drinking water costs. Much has been accomplished but at the current rate of expenditures, the gap in funding for clean water and safe drinking water infrastructure would be more than half a trillion dollars by 2019 according to the EPA's 2002 Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Gap Analysis. In fiscal year 2005 alone it is estimated that $18 billion is needed to meet all state needs for water infrastructure. States, localities, and private sources working to address these problems cannot meet this funding gap alone. We support this substantial increase in water funding this year as it takes a step toward a longer-term solution for our nation's water needs.

We again urge you to support a $5.2 billion appropriation for the Clean Water and Drinking Water SRFs in the Veteran Affairs and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act. We understand that these are substantial funding increases, but believe they are necessary and justified by the latest EPA needs estimates. Maintaining clean and safe water remains one of our nation's highest priorities even though funding its continued improvement is one of our greatest challenges.

Sincerely,

    American Council of Engineering Companies
    American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
    American Public Works Association American Rivers
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    American Water Works Association
    Association of California Water Agencies
    Association of Metropolitan Sewage Agencies
    Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies
    Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators
    Coalition for Alternative Wastewater Treatment
    Construction Management Association of America
    Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities
    Earthjustice
    Environmental Integrity Project
    Friends of the Earth
    National Association of Towns and Townships
    National Audubon Society
    National Environmental Trust
    National Utility Contractors Association
    Natural Resources Defense Council
    The Ocean Conservancy
    Physicians for Social Responsibility
    Public Citizen
    Sierra Club
    U.S. Public Interest Research Group
    Water Environment Federation
    Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association, Inc.
    The Wilderness Society
    Cc: House Appropriations Committee Members
CONTACT: AMSA's Lee Garrigan, Director of Legislative Affairs at 202/833-4655.

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