EPA's 2016 Budget Proposal Increases Funding for Water/Wastewater Infrastructure

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On Feb. 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the Obama administration's fiscal year 2016 budget. The $8.6 billion budget is a request of $452 million above the agency's enacted level for fiscal year 2015.

“This budget sends a strong signal that the president is fully committed to making the investments needed to meet our mission to protect public health and the environment," says Stan Meiburg, EPA acting deputy administrator. "The funding allows us to further our important work to combat the impacts of climate change and deliver on the president’s Climate Action Plan while improving air quality, protecting our water, executing rigorous scientific research and ensuring the public safety from toxic chemicals.”

A key element of the EPA’s 2016 efforts will be coordination with other federal agencies, states, tribes and stakeholders, which will help focus the work of diverse programs across the agency at the community level. In response to feedback from across the country, the budget proposes a multifaceted effort to enable communities of all sizes to find needed assistance and support for capacity building, planning and implementation of environmental protection programs.

In addition to new cross-program efforts, including 20 full-time equivalents for community resource coordinators, $2 million for circuit riders and $5 million to coordinate efforts at the local level in overburdened and vulnerable communities, the budget provides for targeted community efforts in each of the program areas. These efforts will include helping communities adopt green infrastructure, providing technical assistance for building resilience and adapting to climate change, and helping communities reduce environmental impacts through advanced monitoring technology and decision making tools.

Water/wastewater highlights
Protecting America’s water resources is critical to EPA’s mission, so the agency will continue to build upon decades of efforts to ensure U.S. waterways are clean and drinking water is safe because there are far reaching effects when rivers, lakes and oceans becomes polluted.

Building on the strong funding level of $2.3 billion provided through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, $50 million is included for technical assistance, training and other efforts to enhance the capacity of communities and states to plan and finance drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

In January 2015, the agency launched a key component of this expanded effort — the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center — which will help communities focus on financial planning for public infrastructure investments, expanding work with states to identify financing opportunities for rural communities, and enhancing partnership and collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on training, technical assistance and funding opportunities in rural areas. The Water Infrastructure and Resilience Finance center is part of the Build America investment initiative, a government-wide effort to increase infrastructure investment and promote economic growth by creating opportunities for state and local governments and the private sector to collaborate on infrastructure development.


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