WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) announced her introduction of the Water Infrastructure Sustainability and Efficiency (WISE) Act. The bill will permanently set aside 20 percent of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for environmentally friendly water infrastructure projects. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund provides states with funds for water quality projects at the state and local level and is the largest source of federal financing for clean water infrastructure projects.
“Clean water is more than an environmental issue,” said Congresswoman Williams. “It is an environmental justice, human and civil rights issue, because the lack of clean water threatens the health of all communities, in particular our most marginalized communities. As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am dedicated to finding permanent infrastructure solutions and authoring legislation – like the WISE Act – that will ensure everyone has the opportunity to achieve the promise of America, regardless of their zip code or bank account.”
The WISE Act is supported by environmental groups including the National Wildlife Federation.
“The WISE Act will help keep our rivers, lakes, beaches and streams safe and clean by creating consistent funding for innovative, nature-based solutions,” said Abby Tinsley, Associate Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs for the National Wildlife Federation. “The types of stormwater and wastewater projects funded by this bill are often the most cost-effective way to improve water quality and prevent flooding, while creating jobs, wildlife habitat and new outdoor recreation opportunities.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 required Clean Water State Revolving Fund programs to use a certain portion of their funds for green infrastructure projects. Since 2009, the set aside has been implemented annually but has varied in size – in some years it was as high as 20 percent, but in many years, it was set at 10 percent. The WISE Act ends this yearly uncertainty and provides greater predictability for states investing in clean water infrastructure.