Several Markey-led priorities for Massachusetts incorporated into bipartisan legislation, including provisions to benefit Boston Harbor, Hanscom Air Force Base, and local municipalities
Washington, D.C. – May 3, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) commended today’s passage of a comprehensive water resources and water infrastructure bill – the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 – out of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee that will help address the adverse effects of climate change, improve the safety of and infrastructure for our nation’s drinking water, and spur economic growth.
The legislation included several of the senators’ top priorities for Massachusetts.
“With communities throughout Massachusetts and the country working to improve the quality of their drinking water, bracing for rising seas and more intense storms, and seeking to be more competitive in the global economy, this legislative package will provide welcome relief and support for critical infrastructure,” said Senator Markey, a member of the EPW committee. “The needs of our water resources and infrastructure continue to grow as climate change, weather and an evolving economy increasingly impact Massachusetts. I am pleased that this legislation includes provisions that will benefit communities throughout the Commonwealth, and I will continue work with my colleagues to secure final passage.”
“This bill will help support several important priorities for Massachusetts, including key infrastructure investments as well as measures to help protect our drinking water and our environment,” said Senator Warren. “I’m glad the committee advanced this legislation, and I’m going to work with Senator Markey to ensure it passes the full Senate.”
The senators’ provisions incorporated into the legislation include:
- Modifying the federal cost-share for harbor deepenings, which could save the Massachusetts Port Authority $10 million on the Boston Harbor Dredging project;
- Moving the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s New England District to Hanscom Air Force Base;
- Increasing the federal funding cap for beach erosion projects from $5 million to $10 million, which could allow the Corps to build more robust beach nourishment projects for the Towns of Salisbury and Newbury;
- Requiring the government to pay more for studies to assess whether federal infrastructure is causing harm to Massachusetts’s shorelines, ensuring that the Town of Sandwich does not have to pay for the costs of their shore damage study;
- Updating and improving the reporting and notification requirements for drinking water violations; and
- Establishing a new water infrastructure grant program for underserved and disadvantaged communities.
“We are very pleased that Boston Harbor Dredging needs are part of WRDA and Massport especially thanks Sen. Markey, as well as the entire delegation for their prior advocacy for this critical project,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn.
This month, Senator Markey joined Senate Democrats in introducing a comprehensive water infrastructure bill, which includes his Contaminant and Lead Electronic Accounting and Reporting Requirements (CLEARR) for Drinking Water Act. The CLEARR Act would require the EPA to establish requirements for electronic reporting of water quality testing results, updating the requirements for repeat- or serious-offender water systems, and creates a system so that residents can request in-home water quality tests from the EPA and receive the test results in an expedited manner. Several of these provisions are included in the WRDA bill.