Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama's Environment policy

Obama : Water issues seen as likely priorities

Greenwire -- US EPA’s efforts to improve water-treatment infrastructure, regulate emerging contaminants and protect wetlands are likely to grow in an Obama administration that has vowed to make climate change a top priority.EPA’s outgoing water administrator, Benjamin Grumbles, predicted that mitigating climate change’s impact on water supplies will be a priority for the Obama administration. “Water is at the heart of the climate change debate,” Grumbles said in an interview. “It is a core part of both the cause and the effects of climate change.”President-elect Barack Obama promised during the campaign to increase federal funding for water-treatment facilities and support initiatives aimed at reducing stormwater runoff. And prospects for a greater federal investment in water infrastructure have risen with concerns about the nation’s flagging economy. Democrats have called for using water projects and other infrastructure work as an economic stimulus.The Bush White House recently threatened to veto House plans for an economic recovery package funding infrastructure projects, potentially punting the issue to Obama and the 111th Congress. Obama said last week that passage of a $60 billion to $100 billion economic stimulus package would be a top priority following his inauguration if President Bush and lawmakers do not come to an agreement in the lame-duck session (E&ENews PM, Nov. 7).Federal funding for infrastructure has declined 70 percent over the last two decades, leaving much of the nation’s water and transportation infrastructure in desperate need of cash for maintenance, water-industry representatives say.“We hope that the package will contain upwards of $10 billion for wastewater infrastructure,” said Susan Bruninga, spokeswoman for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. “These are critical needs our communities have waiting. We’re ready to stick the shovels in the ground. These are projects that are necessary for environmental protection and public health.”

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