Statement: Omnibus spending package fails to deliver on clean water

Despite public support, Congress misses golden opportunity to protect public health from sewage pollution and lead contamination of water
For Immediate Release.

WASHINGTON -- Congress is ending the year with no major increases to protect public health from water pollution.  The 2020 omnibus package released Monday contains no increase in either the Clean Water or Drinking Water State Revolving Funds from Fiscal Year 2020 levels. This final bill is a stark contrast to the additional $11 billion for clean water included in the House’s spending bills, which would have greatly improved efforts to prevent sewage overflows and contamination of drinking water by lead and other sources. 

Environment America Clean Water Advocate Laura Miller issued the following statement:

“Despite broad support and an urgent need, Congress missed this opportunity for bold investments in water infrastructure. As a result, far too many Americans’ water will remain at risk of contamination.

“For too long our water infrastructure has been failing us, with billions of gallons of sewage overflows reaching our waterways and lead contaminating drinking water. But as Environment America Research and Policy Center’s recent report A Path to Cleaner Water demonstrates, we can solve such problems when we invest in fixing and improving our water infrastructure.

“Americans know this. Our recent sign-on letters prove that these much-needed investments enjoy overwhelming support -- from community groups, ranchers and churches to businesses around the country. Not only that but this desire to protect our water is also bipartisan with 84 percent of Americans supporting water infrastructure investment

“This summer, several Congressional leaders sought to meet this challenge when the House of Representatives approved more than $11 billion in additional water infrastructure funding.  The bi-partisan supporters of that bold proposal deserve our appreciation. We wish their vision had prevailed in this final omnibus package.

“Despite today’s setback, we are eager to work with Congress and the incoming Biden-Harris administration on bold investments to make our waterways safe for swimming and our tap water safe to drink. We will redouble our efforts to ensure that next year our elected leaders hear the loud and clear voices in favor of broad support for robust clean water infrastructure funding. The health of our waterways, and our country, depend on it.”