WASHINGTON, DC — The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020 was approved on Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives, including an additional $40 million secured by Congressman Hal Rogers specifically for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 531 Program to improve water and wastewater resources exclusively in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.
The legislation includes federal funding to improve water resources infrastructure across the country, emergency flood assistance and hazard mitigation, enhanced environmental projects, and much more.
In 1996, Congressman Rogers first championed the Southern and Eastern Kentucky Environmental Infrastructure Program to provide federal funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Eastern Kentucky PRIDE to expand access to clean running water and reliable sewer systems in the second poorest congressional district in the country. Since inception, Congressman Rogers has consistently advocated for increased funding to expand these basic resources as quickly as possible in his mountainous region. The additional $40 million authorized for Section 531 projects in WRDA 2020 is the largest single increase in the history of the program, ensuring critical assistance will be available for decades to come.
Congressman Rogers spoke on the House Floor in support of swift passage of the legislation:
“I would like to thank Chairman Defazio and Ranking Member Graves for including my request to increase funding for the Section 531 Program for Southern and Eastern Kentucky. In the region that I serve, we’re still fighting for clean water and reliable wastewater systems for our families, our schools, and our businesses. Many of our folks, like those in Martin County, are often forced to boil water to wash their dishes because lines are failing; and believe it or not– we’re still finding straight-pipes dumping raw sewage into our beautiful streams. Thanks to Section 531, some 35,000 families in southern and eastern Kentucky now have their own septic system or access to a reliable wastewater system, and approximately 90% of my rural region has access to clean water. But it should be 100% in every part of America. Anything less is shameful.And that is why this funding increase, and this bill, are so critical.. I urge support, and I yield back.”
The legislation now moves on to the U.S. Senate for consideration.