Portman Announces Bipartisan Agreement to Help Ohio & Other States Resolve Drinking Water Crisis

February 24, 2016 | Press Releases

Would Address Crisis in Flint and Help Ohio Communities 

Washington, D.C. – Working to protect the drinking water in Ohio and other states, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today announced that he along with Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Gary Peters, (D-Mich.) have reached an agreement on legislation designed to address lead exposure to drinking systems around the country. The measure was the product of bipartisan negotiations and would help Flint, Michigan and other states that have emergency water crises, and will be considered by the Senate on a stand-alone basis after it completes action on bipartisan energy reforms.  Portman issued the following statement:

“I’m pleased that we have reached a bipartisan agreement to help ensure the safety of Ohioans’ drinking water,” Portman stated. “This would not only address the crisis in Flint, Michigan, but also help Ohio and other states should emergencies arise. I will continue to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure that all Ohioans have access to clean and safe drinking water.”

NOTE: This legislation would offer additional resources to any state – if the president declares an emergency – in order to address the lead poisoning crisis that began in Flint, Michigan.  The amendment also requires the EPA to notify the public within 15 days if toxic levels of lead are found in any public water system.  As introduced, the legislation would: 

  • Provide $100 million for Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) accessible by any state with a drinking water emergency. The legislation would require a state to submit a plan explaining how the money will be spent to address the emergency before funding is provided.  Funds that remain after 18 months will be distributed to all states under the existing SRF formula.   
  • Provide $70 million in funding to back secured loans made under the new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), which leverages federal investment up to 60 to 1. A federal investment of $70 million could support secured loans of up to $4.2 billion to address water and wastewater infrastructure needs across the country.  All states and all communities with clean water and drinking water infrastructure needs are eligible for this assistance.
  • Provide $50 million for various in authorized health programs for national use to address and prevent impacts from exposure to lead. 
  • Pay for the funding by reprogramming $250 from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.