A bill was recently introduced by Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH), titled the "Clean Water Affordability Act of 2011" (H.R. 1189) that addresses affordability issues related to compliance with Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements. The legislation proposes changes in financing and implementation schedules for communities determined to be suffering from financial hardship. Specifically, the bill proposes to:
· Develop criteria to identify municipalities in economic hardship and amend the CWA to authorize financial assistance to these communities to address wastewater projects by providing up to 30% of additional subsidization of the total state capitalization grant; ;
· Extend the loan repayment period from 20 years to 30 years or the design life of the project to be financed (whichever is less);
· Allow implementation schedules to be extended from 20 years to 30 years, and have this change reflected in EPA documents;
· Require EPA to update the EPA publication "CSO financial capability guidance originally published in 1997;
· Require states to set aside 15% of clean water SRF funds for assistance to municipalities of fewer than 10,000 individuals that meet specified affordability criteria;
· Allow states to use up to 30% of total amount of SRF capitalization grants received by the State beginning after September 30, 2012 as grant funds.
This legislation has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. No hearings have been planned to date.