Yesterday, the House unanimously passed the Clean Water for Delaware Act that will create a Trust that will invest in planning new water infrastructure and fixing the water infrastructure that we do have, so as to provide clean drinking water, and to prevent flooding and contamination of our water resources.
House Bill 200, sponsored by House Majority Leader Rep. Valerie Longhurst, establishes a Clean Water Trust account and increases funding for low-income and underserved communities, and requires a comprehensive clean water report and strategic plan to ensure that priority projects are addressed in a timely fashion.
Under HB 200, the Clean Water Trust Fund Oversight Committee would prepare an annually updated strategic plan, which would address multi-year water quality goals and progress, drinking water testing priorities for the state, and a prioritized list of proposed safe drinking water, wastewater infrastructure and resource conservation and development projects, including projects with increased accessibility to lower-income and traditionally underserved communities.
The Clean Water Trust would include appropriations in the Bond Bill for Safe Drinking Water, Water Pollution Control, and Resource Conservation and Development projects plus loan repayments, interest on invested funds and other funding made available for these purposes. To help seed the trust, Governor John Carney has allocated $50 million in his fiscal 2022 recommended budget for clean water projects. This would include $22.5 million for safe drinking water, $22.5 million for water pollution control, and $5 million for resource conservation and development.
|House Bill 200 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Longhurst, Heffernan, Baumbach, Bentz, Brady, Carson, Chukwuocha, Gray, Griffith, K.Johnson, Kowalko, Lambert, Matthews, Minor-Brown, Mitchell, Moore, Osienski, D.Short, Shupe||House Passes 40-0-1. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Brady Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||Collins (Absent)|
|Townsend, Brown, Hansen, Lockman, Mantzavinos, S.McBride, Poore, Sokola, Sturgeon, Walsh|
|Current Status:||Senate Environment & Energy 4/1/21|
“For too long, Delaware has ignored the growing problems that have threatened a resource we simply cannot live without: water. The time to protect our waterways, support our stormwater systems and ensure clean, healthy drinking water to our residents is now,” said Rep. Longhurst. “This is an environmental justice issue. Clean water, safe waterways, solid infrastructure and adequate wastewater treatment should not be a luxury, and today we have taken a bold step forward, passing a bill that will have a lasting impact on our state.”
“This $50 million investment in a new Clean Water Trust Fund will help make sure all Delaware families have access to clean drinking water, and protect our most basic and valuable natural resource,” said Governor Carney. “This initiative also will place a special focus on those hard-to-serve communities across our state. Thank you to House Majority Leader Longhurst, Senate Majority Leader Townsend, the Delaware Nature Society and clean water advocates for your work and partnership on this important issue.”
“Delaware has been waiting far too long for us to take this critical first-step in addressing the serious water quality and flooding issue quickly reaching crisis levels across our state,” said Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bryan Townsend, the bill’s lead Senate sponsor. “With nearly every waterway in the First State now considered impaired or polluted, consistent flooding and aging sewer systems in our communities and far too many of our neighbors lacking access to clean drinking water, this bill represents an important initial investment in our economy and the health of all Delawareans.”
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