News Briefs: Designees Announced for President Trump's Water Subcabinet

Also in this week's sewer and water news, the Minnesota House of Representatives passes a $1.9 billion infrastructure package that could create thousands of jobs

The U.S. EPA and its federal partners wrapped up a week focused on federal coordination on water issues by announcing designees for the Water Subcabinet, established by President Trump’s Executive Order on “Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure.” 

The Water Subcabinet designees will be responsible for implementing the strategic direction and specific actions initiated under Executive Order to improve federal water infrastructure and prioritize access to essential water supplies for Americans.

As stated in the Executive Order, the Water Subcabinet is chaired by the Secretary of the Interior and the administrator of the EPA. The designees to the newly formed Water Subcabinet are:

  • Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary of Water and Science Dr. Tim Petty.
  • EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey
  • Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James
  • U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel R. Simmons
  • Deputy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Rear Admiral Gallaudet

Minnesota House Passes $1.9 Billion Infrastructure Package

Minneapolis’ Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota House of Representatives has given the OK to a $1.9 billion public works infrastructure package that includes funding for water infrastructure.

The package is expected to create thousands of jobs and provide economic stimulus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal still needs Senate approval, but it’s expected to pass in some form before moving on to Gov. Tim Walz.

“The most important reason to pass this bill is the jobs that the bonding portion of the bill creates. But every portion of this bill is essential to economic recovery in COVID-19,” Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman tells the Star Tribune.

EPA Announces $225 Million WIFIA Loan in Virginia

At a recent event in Suffolk, Virginia, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced a $225 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD).

This WIFIA loan represents the first loan provided under an agreement that will commit $1.05 billion in WIFIA assistance to help finance one of the first major water reuse programs on the east coast of the United States. 

“EPA has helped finance $14.5 billion in water infrastructure through the WIFIA loan program to better protect public health and support projects including those that enhance water reuse,” says Wheeler. “By supporting projects in Virginia through the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) Program, new infrastructure can be built to protect groundwater and save ratepayers money.”


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