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house Bill H.R. 1331

Should the EPA Give States & Localities Grants for Improving Water Quality?

Argument in favor

Clean water is vital to the health of communities and individuals' health. Ensuring that the EPA can continue giving states and local governments financial support to clear pollution in waterways benefits everyone.

burrkitty's Opinion
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04/08/2019
FreshClean Water is Life! This issue DOSN’T belong to only the states! It is a NATIONAL and therefore FEDERAL MATTER! Rivers, lakes, rain and groundwater aquifers DO NOT RESPECT STATE BORDERS.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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04/08/2019
Though I think the funding is low considering the cuts made by the EPA, I feel this is a good way for states to target especially sensitive areas on which they wish to work to stop further damage.
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J. scott's Opinion
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04/08/2019
Yes this is apparently a good program but grossly underfunded and I congratulate the Congress for attempting to do something about it.
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Argument opposed

Given that concerns about the 319 Grant Program’s effectiveness have been raised in the past, it’d be best to assess the program’s current effectiveness before throwing more money at it. The program should only be reauthorized if it actually works.

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04/08/2019
The epa is unconstitutional. It needs to be abolished immediately. Nothing in the constitution authorizes the federal government to be involved in environmental issues, let alone control it. This is nothing more than bribing states with money stolen from the states and the people. Cut taxes! Cut federal programs! Leave it to the states as the constitution requires!
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Cindy's Opinion
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04/08/2019
It’s funded at 70 million right now yet in 2017 they granted 167 million, With 28% of the grants were not used for what they were intended, it is past time for our government to work within the budget they are given and stop the corruption!!!! Cut spending not bloat government.
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JTJ's Opinion
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04/08/2019
Abolish the epa. These issues should be handled by local government.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • The house Passed April 8th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 329 Yea / 56 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Water Resources and Environment
    IntroducedFebruary 25th, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 1331?

This bill — the Local Water Protection Act — would reauthorize the Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 319 Grant Program (also known as the Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program) and increase its funding level to $200 million per fiscal year from 2020-2024. EPA Section 319 grants are available to state and local governments for technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects and monitoring the success of specific nonpoint source implementation projects.

Currently, the EPA’s Section 319 Grant program is funded at $70 million over the 2020-2024 period.

Impact

Waterways; bodies of water; polluted waters; state and local governments; state and government water quality programs; and the EPA 319 Grant Program.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1331

$810.00 Million
Assuming appropriation of the specified amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $810 million over the 2020-2024 period and $190 million after 2024.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced this bill to reduce harmful water pollution from snowmelt and rainfall runoff by increasing a voluntary grant fund designed to give local and state governments the flexibility to make conservation practice improvements aimed at decreasing water pollutants through partnerships within their communities:

“Clean water is vital to the daily health of Minnesotans and the beauty of our state, from the water we drink to the lakes we swim in. My first bipartisan bill in Congress will renew and increase the critical funding that communities need to keep Minnesota’s waters clean and safe for generations to come.”

After this bill passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Craig said:

“I am so proud to see this critical piece of legislation move forward. As Minnesotans, the four seasons have taught us that snowmelt and rainfall are nature’s vehicles that can increase pollutants in our local waters. We all have a desire to keep our waters clean which is why I’m proud to increase voluntary conservation opportunities for our communities.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) adds:

“Fixing our water quality issues needs to start at the source by preventing pollution to begin with. Our bipartisan bill will increase federal support to prevent agricultural runoff, assist with septic to sewer conversions, and address other forms of pollutants. Working together, we can tackle this from all angles and make a real difference for our waterways.”

Rep. Mast notes that, unlike some federal programs, 319 grants are tailored to local needs:

“This is a great approach that does not lend itself to what can sometimes happen in Washington, which is a D.C. one-size-fits-all approach. This allows for communities to go out there and try to repair those failures in their local waterways through this assistance.”

In a May 2012 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the Section 319 Program wasn’t always achieving its desired results, sometimes due to lax EPA oversight and poor project selection:

“According to GAO survey results, 28 percent of projects did not achieve all objectives originally identified in the project proposal (e.g., implementing the desired number of pollution reduction practices), while many that did so still faced considerable challenges. About half such challenges were beyond staff control (e.g., bad weather or staff turnover), but the other half were challenges that generally could have been identified and mitigated before projects were proposed and selected for funding, such as gaining access to desired properties. In one state, for example, $285,000 in section 319 funds was to subsidize the cost to homeowners of repairing damaged septic systems. Once the grant was awarded, however, one homeowner signed up to participate. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) oversight and measures of effectiveness of states’ programs have not consistently ensured the selection of projects likely to yield measurable water quality outcomes. EPA’s 10 regional offices varied widely in their review of states’ work plans, which describe projects states plan to undertake in the upcoming year, and project selection criteria, which identify eligibility parameters for receiving section 319 funds.”

This bill passed the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure by a voice vote with the support of one cosponsor, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL).


Of NoteThe White House’s 2020 budget recommends cutting all funding for 319 grants, as it did in 2017 and 2018. This is in line with the Trump administration’s overall hostility towards the EPA, which dates back to a Trump campaign pledge to scrap the EPA in its entirety. Trump’s efforts to minimize the EPA’s size and budget are in line with his dismissals of climate science and hostility toward environmental regulation.

However, despite the Trump administration’s efforts to zero it out, the EPA 319 Grant Program actually granted more money — $167.9 million — in 2017 than it did in 2016 ($163.4 million).

Mike Cox, a former climate change adviser for EPA’s Region 10, criticized the EPA’s direction under then-EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt when he left the agency, writing in a letter:

“The policies this Administration is advancing are contrary to what the majority of the American people, who pay our salaries, want EPA to accomplish, which are to ensure the air their children breath is safe; the land they live, play, and hunt on to be free of toxic chemicals; and the water they drink, the lakes they swim in, and the rivers they fish in to be clean.”

Clean Water Action notes, “Under Section 319, states, territories and tribes receive grant money that supports a wide variety of activities including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects and monitoring to assess the success of specific nonpoint source implementation projects.”

In a 2011 report, the EPA called nonpoint source (NPS) pollution the “leading source of water quality impairment in the United States,” accounting for nearly three-quarters of all impaired waters (over 33,000 waters). NPS pollution is also “the dominant source of pollutants responsible for impairment of many of our nation’s most significant waterbodies, such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / CasarsaGuru)

AKA

Local Water Protection Act

Official Title

To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize certain programs relating to nonpoint source management, and for other purposes.

    FreshClean Water is Life! This issue DOSN’T belong to only the states! It is a NATIONAL and therefore FEDERAL MATTER! Rivers, lakes, rain and groundwater aquifers DO NOT RESPECT STATE BORDERS.
    Like (101)
    Follow
    Share
    The epa is unconstitutional. It needs to be abolished immediately. Nothing in the constitution authorizes the federal government to be involved in environmental issues, let alone control it. This is nothing more than bribing states with money stolen from the states and the people. Cut taxes! Cut federal programs! Leave it to the states as the constitution requires!
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    Though I think the funding is low considering the cuts made by the EPA, I feel this is a good way for states to target especially sensitive areas on which they wish to work to stop further damage.
    Like (62)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes this is apparently a good program but grossly underfunded and I congratulate the Congress for attempting to do something about it.
    Like (45)
    Follow
    Share
    I support this bill 100%! And the source of those grants should be fines levied on the polluters themselves!!😡
    Like (33)
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    I can’t imagine voting no on this, but I’ll bet our Republican leaders who take money from coal and oil billionaires will do just that. They don’t care that toxic waste is dumped into our oceans, rivers and lakes. Who cares if it ends up poisoning wildlife, us and our children. They stay rich so who cares, right?
    Like (24)
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    The EPA and administration have repeatedly stated that clean water and clean air is a priority for them, even though they have removed regulations which will directly reduce clean water and air. If they're serious about what they say, then they will provide funding to local and state efforts to keep water cleaner.
    Like (19)
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    This should be a no brainer. Clean drinking water is absolutely essential to maintain life. Why wouldn’t they give grants to improve water quality?
    Like (19)
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    It’s amazing that providing funding for local governments to improve water quality has become politicized! Yes! Increase the amount of money available for this grant. We’ve got plenty of water quality problems especially in Flint, MI, but all across this country!
    Like (15)
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    We need to do all we can to keep our water safe including spending federal dollars and passing laws that penalize corporations and individuals that pollute. Written in the bill would better be penalties include incarceration of corporate presidents and CEOs.
    Like (15)
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    After the disaster in Michigan - leaving thousands of disenfranchised children and adults PERMANENTLY SICK - we need more laws and & federal regulations in place.
    Like (14)
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    Yes especially in Flint, Michigan! That should be priority.
    Like (12)
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    If local municipalities are doing their part proactively protecting our water supply, then we should support their efforts with federal incentives to insure this basic need.
    Like (11)
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    We will grow to appreciate potable water as it becomes increasingly scarce
    Like (9)
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    Yes we pay for water so State should make sure we have clean drinking water. I’m not paying my water bill for nothing. It is bad enough I don’t thinking the water in Indiana is of good quality in the first place. They need to work on this NOW not later.
    Like (8)
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    It’s funded at 70 million right now yet in 2017 they granted 167 million, With 28% of the grants were not used for what they were intended, it is past time for our government to work within the budget they are given and stop the corruption!!!! Cut spending not bloat government.
    Like (8)
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    Share
    Please make this small step towards protecting our water for future generations!
    Like (8)
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    Abolish the epa. These issues should be handled by local government.
    Like (7)
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    I agree with this grant for clean water!!! Montana Rep. Gianforte took the cowardly position And DID NOT VOTE! I support Kathleen Williams 2020!!
    Like (7)
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    I support this proposal. However, I would want to have language included in which States - shall use all capital explicitly provided under this bill for sustainment and improvements to environmental protection. Furthermore, the language of the bill or any necessary amendments will state that the transfer of any or all capital earmarked for environmental protection to other non-environmental protection pursuits is not permitted.
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