Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Environmentalists Dismayed over Lack of Sewage and Drinking Water Infrastructure Funding in Proposed Economic Recovery Plan

Albany, NY— Proposed language in the economic recovery package from the House Appropriations committee contains disappointing figures for essential clean water infrastructure. Over the next 20 years, Connecticut needs at least $5 billion and New York will need at least $36 billion for wastewater infrastructure. The national proposal contains only $6 billion.

“The economic, environmental, and public benefits of investing in clean water cannot be overstated. With national needs in excess of $202 billion for clean water infrastructure, proposing only $6 billion dollars doesn’t cut it,” said Adrienne Esposito, CCE Executive Director.

New York has 412 wastewater projects and 497 drinking water that have been reviewed, ranked and are ready-to-go as soon as funding is available. These projects serve over 11 million citizens.

Investing in clean water infrastructure to fix failing sewage treatment plants and to ensure delivery of high quality, clean drinking water is good for economic and public health. As Congress and the new administration finalize the economic recovery package, investing in upgrading wastewater and drinking water infrastructure must be a priority. Additional resources are needed to fund clean water projects to create more jobs, ease burdens on municipalities, and address the clean water infrastructure crisis facing New York, Connecticut, and our nation.

Between 30,000 and 47,500 jobs are created for each $1 billion of federal investment in infrastructure projects, which provide an unparalleled opportunity for economic recovery and long-term growth in our local communities.

While the nation’s clean water infrastructure need continues to grow, federal investment has shrunk. Since 2004, the federal government has reduced funding for New York State’s vital wastewater infrastructure by 50%, while funding for drinking water infrastructure has been cut by 40%, shifting the burden of paying for this infrastructure onto local governments. The lack of federal support for essential infrastructure is crippling, resulting in sewage contaminating our beaches, urban communities unable to remove lead drinking water pipes, and over-burdening already cash-strapped municipalities. ”Failing and aging clean water infrastructure threatens public health, weakens our economy, and will not fix itself,” said Dereth Glance, CCE Executive Program Director. “Congress must allocate adequate resources to restore our core water infrastructure."

It is our hope that the new administration and Congress will uphold the promise of clean water for everyone by delivering more meaningful investments in our clean water infrastructure,” Esposito concluded. Supported by over 80,000 members, Citizens Campaign for the Environment empowers communities and advocates solutions to protect public health and our shared environment.

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