Fri Dec 17th, 2021
Announcement calls for prioritizing underserved communities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan recently announced funding that states, Tribes, and territories will receive in 2022 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This funding, provided through EPA’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, will create jobs while upgrading America’s aging water infrastructure and addressing key challenges like lead in drinking water and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.
In a letter sent to Governors, the Administrator encouraged states to maximize the impact of water funding from the law – an unprecedented $50 billion investment – to address disproportionate environmental burdens in historically underserved communities across the country. The State of Colorado will receive $121, 347,000 to invest in critical wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects.
“With President Biden’s leadership and congressional action, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has created an historic opportunity to correct longstanding environmental and economic injustices across America,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “As leaders, we must seize this moment. Billions of dollars are about to start flowing to states and it is critical that EPA partners with states, Tribes, and territories to ensure the benefits of these investments are delivered in the most equitable way.”
“EPA is committed to making the most of this historic opportunity to help Colorado communities invest in the critical infrastructure that will deliver clean water and safe drinking water for decades to come,” said EPA Regional Administrator KC Becker. “In addition to creating jobs across the state, these funds will improve the health of our watersheds and expand access to safe drinking water for homes, businesses, schools, and childcare centers; including the disadvantaged communities who need it most.”
In total, EPA will allocate $7.4 billion to states, Tribes, and territories for 2022, with nearly half of this funding available as grants or principal forgiveness loans that remove barriers to investing in essential water infrastructure in underserved communities across rural America and in urban centers. The 2022 allocation is the first of five years of $43 billion in dedicated EPA SRF funding that states will receive through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
For more than 30 years, the SRFs have been the foundation of water infrastructure investments, providing low-cost financing for local projects across America. However, many vulnerable communities facing water challenges have not received their fair share of federal water infrastructure funding. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, states have a unique opportunity to correct this disparity.
Administrator Regan recently completed a “Journey to Justice” tour across the American South where he heard from families and advocates about their struggles with exposure to water pollution in their communities. For children, exposure to lead can cause irreversible and life-long health effects, including decreasing IQ, focus, and academic achievement. At the same time, families that live near high levels of contaminants such as PFAS or “forever chemicals” are at risk to develop adverse health outcomes.
The implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law calls for strong partnership, and EPA stands ready to work with states to ensure that communities see the full benefits of this investment.
For more information, including state-by-state allocation of 2022 funding, and a breakdown of EPA funding by SRF program, and additional funding available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/infrastructure.