Obama's EPA Budget
In the U.S., Budgeting for Clean and Affordable Water
In President Obama’s FY 2010 Budget, there is $10.5 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (pdf) which is 34% higher than the $7.8 billion estimated 2009 budget, This is a huge increase from the last Bush 2008 budget of $7.5 billion. This includes an “historic increase” in funding for clean water through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Also note that the Recovery Act includes $7.2 billion for clean water.
This federal funding to states mandated by the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts is long overdue. In recent years, the EPA estimated that $22 billion was needed each year for our water infrastructure! Yet, in 2008, the Bush administration requested only $688 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the lowest in history!
In the U.S., 85% of the public is served by municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment/sewer systems. Most have suffered years of neglect and many are as much as 100 years old. Leaking pipes waste hundreds of billions of gallons already treated for use at taxpayer expense. Leaking sewer pipes contaminate groundwater.
To head off privatization through lease, sale or public-private contracts by cash-strapped cities, long-term government funding is a must. This infusion of federal dollars is not just for repairs, but to upgrade pipes and wastewater systems to handle rising demand, meet new federal drinking water standards, and prevent storm and sewer spills that increasingly threaten public health and pollute waterways and beaches.