Thanks to advocacy by ASCE’s Key Contacts and the U.S. Levee Safety Coalition – of which ASCE is a member – the Senate Appropriations Committee matched the House’s $15 million proposed funding level for the National Levee Safety Program’s levee inventory in its FY20 Energy & Water Development appropriations bill, which passed out of the Committee earlier this month. This is triple the amount of funding the program has previously received and is a step toward raising our nation’s “D” levees grade. The National Levee Safety Program promotes consistent safety standards, creates levee safety guidelines, and provides funding assistance to states and regional districts for establishing participating levee safety programs.
Additionally, the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee includes $10 million for the High Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Program in its FY 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which passed out of the Subcommittee earlier this week. The High Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Program, which was not included in the House funding measure, provides federal grant assistance for the rehabilitation, repair, or removal of non-federal high hazard potential dams. Ensuring funding for this program is just one of ASCE’s recommendations to raise our nation’s “D” dams grade.
Finally, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY20 Interior & Environment appropriations bill, which includes $9 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or about $200 million more than its current funding level. It also funds the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) at $1.1 billion and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) at $1.6 billion, both of which are on par with current funding levels. The Water Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (WIFIA) program is funded at $73 million, which is $5 million more than the current funding level. ASCE supports all three of these programs – the DWSRF, CWSRF, and WIFIA programs – as critical funding and financing mechanisms to help raise our nation’s “D” drinking water and “D+” wastewater grades.
Since both chambers of Congress weren’t able to pass all twelve of their respective appropriations bills before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, the House and the Senate both passed a short-term funding measure, or continuing resolution (CR), to avert a government shutdown. This CR funds the government through November 21.