U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., have brought back a proposal to change the national water quality allocation formula to the states.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.. and U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Mary., are among the cosponsors of the proposals. Other backers include U.S. Sens. Richard Burr, R-NC, and Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., and U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., Val Demings, D-Fla., Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., Brian Mast, R-Fla., Bill Posey, R-Fla., and Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla.
Waltz first introduced the “Clean Water Allotment Modernization Act” at the start of 2020. The bill would change the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) formula, which determines the amount of money states receive for water quality projects, for the first time since 1987.
Waltz’s office stressed that the Sunshine State would benefit from changing the formula and maintained that it would not add to federal spending. Back in 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended that Congress change the formula.
“Florida currently receives the third-lowest allotment per capita from the CWSRF, despite having the third-most significant water infrastructure needs nationwide. The CWSRF provides states annual funding for low-interest financing of water infrastructure projects, including wastewater systems (septic-to-sewer conversion), stormwater management, estuary projects, nonpoint source and water reuse projects,” Waltz’s office noted. “The adjusted formula would significantly increase Florida’s allotment, enabling the state to finance billions of dollars in new clean water infrastructure over the next decade. Florida’s population and water infrastructure demands have substantially increased since 1987 and has also struggled with water impairment issues like harmful algal blooms and red tide.”
“As a lifelong Floridian, one of my first goals when I came to office was to improve our state’s water quality,” said Waltz when he first introduced the bill. “I quickly discovered Florida has been shortchanged by the outdated Clean Water State Revolving Fund. In order to keep our water clean, every dollar matters.”
Rubio and Waltz brought the bill back last week.
“Protecting and restoring Florida’s water quality is incredibly important for our state,” Rubio said on Thursday. “It is common sense that we should not be relying on an arbitrary, 34-year-old formula to allocate federal resources to states. It’s time to modernize the CWSRF so that all states have access to water infrastructure loans through a fair and transparent funding formula.”
“Securing Arizona’s water future remains a top priority for our state and for me in the Senate,” Kelly said. “This bipartisan legislation I am introducing with Senator Rubio will ensure that Arizona has the funds needed to make key investments that address our state’s current and future groundwater and wastewater needs.”
“This legislation will help ensure Florida receives the funding it deserves to preserve our waterways, environment and natural resources,” Scott said. “The current funding formula hasn’t been updated since 1987, yet Florida’s population has grown by nearly 10 million since then. It’s time to make this important change. People come from around the world to enjoy our state’s natural beauty, and I will always work to protect our environment for generations to come.”
Waltz’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.