President to Sign Integrated Planning Legislation

Last week, both the House and Senate passed H.R. 7279, the "Water Infrastructure Improvement Act." The bipartisan bill codifies the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Integrated Planning framework. The president is expected to sign the bill into law prior to the new year.

Released in 2012, the framework provides communities greater flexibility in meeting their Clean Water Act (CWA) obligations. Under the framework, communities will be able to better prioritize investments in order to achieve CWA compliance.

In addition to integrated planning, the legislation includes language that promotes the use of green infrastructure by communities in meeting their CWA obligations. As communities replace and refurbish aging water infrastructure, the use of green infrastructure has proven to be both cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Finally, the bill establishes on office of Municipal Ombudsman within EPA, charged with providing technical assistance to communities working to comply with the CWA. The Ombudsman will also ensure that EPA policies are being properly implemented at the local level.

APWA is grateful for the work of members of both the House and Senate for passing this legislation, particularly  Representatives Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Bob Latta (R-OH)  from the House, and Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) from the Senate.