"Legislative initiatives to comprehensively amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) have stalled for some time as interested parties have debated whether and exactly how to change the law. Congress has recently focused legislative attention on narrow bills to extend or modify selected CWA programs, rather than taking up comprehensive proposals. For example, the 108th Congress enacted one bill amending the CWA: legislation to reauthorize the National Estuary Program (H.R. 4731, P.L. 108-399). In the 109th Congress, a House committee has approved bills to reauthorize two Clean Water Act programs. H.R. 624 would provide $1.5 billion in grants over six years for sewer overflow projects, and H.R. 1359 would extend a pilot program for alternative water source projects. For several years, the most prominent legislative water quality issue has concerned financial assistance for municipal wastewater treatment projects. It is likely to be prominent in the 109th Congress as well. At issue is how the federal government will assist states and cities in meeting needs to rebuild, repair, and upgrade wastewater treatment plants, especially in light of capital costs that are projected to be as much as $390 billion over the next two decades. This issue received attention in the 108th Congress. In October 2004, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reported legislation to authorize $41.25 billion in funding for water infrastructure projects, including $20 billion for clean water facilities (S. 2550). In July 2003, a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee also approved a water infrastructure financing bill (H.R. 1560). No further action on either bill occurred."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10142
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