The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has outlined major accomplishments and environmental progress in water supply and wastewater infrastructure investment plus related Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, pollution control and paperwork reduction measures. Among accomplishments and highlights since 2017, the agency underscores:
- Finalizing 16 deregulatory actions, saving Americans more than $1.5 billion in regulatory costs.
- Inviting 38 new projects in 18 states to apply for Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovations Act (note sidebar) loans totaling $6 billion dollars to help finance over $12 billion dollars in water infrastructure investments and create up to 200,000 jobs.
- Finalizing the Affordable Clean Energy rule and replacing the prior administration’s overreaching Clean Power Plan. The rule is projected to result in annual net benefits of $120 million to $730 million and coincides with reductions in electric sector carbon dioxide emissions up to 35 percent through 2030 measured against 2005 levels.
- Providing 151 communities with nearly $65 million in Brownfields grants to assess, clean up, and redevelop underutilized properties. More than 70 percent of those communities have identified sites or targeted areas within newly designated, investor-ready Opportunity Zones.
- Securing investment of over $4.4 billion in equipment and measures that achieve compliance with the law and control pollution, an increase of over $400 million from FY 2018.
- Awarding 36 environmental education regional grants in 25 states totaling more than $3 million.
- Launched Smart Sectors program—covering concrete, cement, mining and other businesses—in all 10 regional offices.
“Under President Trump, we have fulfilled many promises to address some of our most important environmental and human health challenges, while unleashing the economy and fostering innovation,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Since the beginning of the administration, EPA has finalized 49 deregulatory actions saving Americans more than $5 billion in regulatory costs and re-designated 35 areas around the country, moving them into attainment with federal air quality standards and lifting burdens off local businesses.”
AGENCY REPORTS POSITIVE RESULTS FROM WATER INFRASTRUCTURE LOAN PROGRAM
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s inaugural Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) annual report shows the program financing more than $3.5 billion in loans behind projects valued in excess of $8 billion and helping improve water quality for more than 20 million citizens. Through 2019, the program closed 14 loans, ranging from $20.7 million to $699 million and saving borrowers $1.2 billion.
“WIFIA success is a key component of President Trump’s efforts to modernize our aging infrastructure, strengthen public health protections, and create jobs,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “WIFIA has proven to be a tremendous tool in achieving environmental protections and fostering economic growth in communities across the country.”
Established by Congress in 2014, the EPA federal loan and guarantee program provides long-term, low-cost supplemental assistance to creditworthy projects of national and regional significance. Loans can finance traditional drinking water or wastewater treatment plants and delivery or conveyance systems; water recycling and desalination plants; drought prevention or mitigation projects; stormwater management or green infrastructure; plus, non-point source pollution control and source-water protection. Eligible WIFIA borrowers include local, state, tribal, and federal government entities; partnerships and joint ventures; corporations and trusts; and, State Revolving Fund programs. — www.epa.gov/wifia