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Mayors Discuss Urgent Need for New Strategies as Clean Water Act Turns 40
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
To mark the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, a landmark federal law protecting water resources in the United States, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) hosted a panel discussion on Thursday, May 31 about the urgent need for regulatory reform as aggressive unfunded water mandates are guided by outdated regulatory approaches and collide with the ability of cities and their rate payers to pay for them. During the discussion, Mayors called on Congress to either amend the Act or ask EPA to change the way it implements the Act to meet a more current, cost-efficient and smart approach.
"Protecting our nation's water resources has always been a priority and success for mayors, but cities are almost single-handedly shouldering the monumental financial burden placed by unfunded water mandates, as they are already struggling with increased long-term debt and shrinking municipal funds," said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO & Executive Director. "Serious changes must be made to decrease the excessive costs being passed down to taxpayers through enormous rate hikes, hitting our citizens where it hurts the most."
Currently, the third most costly municipal expenditure for cities is providing safe and adequate water and wastewater infrastructure. Additionally, inflation, population growth and an aging infrastructure base continue to increase the needed investment each year. Yet, even with these pre-existing costs, EPA continues to pursue an aggressive program of advancing new water regulations and enforcement actions that expand a city's responsibility, but offer only marginal environmental or health benefits.