Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications [October 28, 2010] [open pdf - 186KB]
"Congressional action to designate funds within appropriations legislation for specified projects or locations has been increasing in recent years as a way to help communities meet needs to build and upgrade water infrastructure systems, whose estimated future funding needs exceed $630 billion. Such legislative action has often been popularly referred to as earmarking. This report discusses appropriations for water infrastructure programs of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), focusing on such designations in the account that funds these programs. Information on the programmatic history of EPA involvement in assisting wastewater treatment and drinking water projects is provided in two appendixes. Congressional appropriators began the practice of supplementing appropriations for the primary Clean Water Act (CWA) and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) assistance programs with grants for individually designated projects in FY1989. These designated project grants are often referred to as earmarks or as STAG grants. Since 1989, of the $56.8 billion appropriated to EPA for water infrastructure assistance, more than 13% ($7.4 billion) has gone to designated project grants. Notably since FY2000, appropriators have awarded such grants to a larger total number of projects, resulting in more communities receiving such assistance, but at the same time receiving smaller amounts of funds, on average."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32201