Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Water Stuff

I found something interesting on the company website today, so I went to the source, copied the whole thing, and will also link it here. The highlighted paragraph is the one that caught my eye. Simple feel good legislation that means absolutely nothing. At first I was mad that the Government was going to spend my money so others could have sewer, but then I realized that the whole darn thing is a scam. Now I am wondering how much of the rest of the pork is never 'appropriated', and who gets to decide what is paid for…I really don't have the time for this, but this may be interesting.

Two Water Bills See Action, Opposition

The House of Representatives voted 367 to 58 March 7 to approve a bill, H.R. 569, that would authorize $1.7 billion over five years to repair and replace sewers. As this was happening the White House said, "This excessive authorization will distort market signals by discouraging utilities and their consumers from moving toward full-cost pricing, as they have elsewhere."

The Water Quality Investment Act of 2007 (H.R. 569) would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to distribute the money in grants to states and municipalities for reducing sewer overflows from FY 2008 through FY 2012.

The $1.7 billion figure is slightly less than the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved in committee in February. An amendment was offered to bring it to the lower funding level for budget austerity reasons. Still, at $1.7 billion the funding level is higher than the $1.5 billion Congress authorized in 2002, after adjusting for inflation.

While Congress has authorized such funds before, they have never appropriated for them, so no such grants have ever been given. Also it is unclear when or if Congress will consider such legislation, and the administration has signaled it may veto the bill if it ever reaches the President's desk in its current form.

Another bill, the Healthy Communities Water Supply Act (H.R. 700), which would authorize $125 million for a pilot program for alternative water source projects, was approved March 8 by a vote of 368-59. The bill would reauthorize an existing program under the Clean Water Act under which the Environmental Protection Agency would disburse grants over multiple years to fund projects intended to increase the usable water supply. Eligible projects include those designed to develop innovative ways to conserve, manage, reclaim or reuse water or wastewater.

Similar to H.R. 569, though Congress has authorized such grants in the past, they have never appropriated funds for them. Also, the White House has voiced budget concerns with the bill and hinted at veto if H.R. 700 reaches President Bush's desk.

Both H.R. 700 and H.R. 569 were not considered controversial, and Democratic and Republican committee members were taken by surprise when the White House issued two statements opposing both bills.

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