Delaware U.S. Sen.Tom Carper celebrated the passing of America’s Water Infrastructure Act, designed to enhance the nation’s infrastructure.
The bill, co-authored by Carper, who serves on the environmental public works committee, addresses the nation’s aging water infrastructure and other issues, including beach replenishment.
Carper made two stops in the Cape Region Oct. 26, and noted the new bill passed the Senate by a vote of 99-1, and has been signed into law by the president.
The legislation expands the existing $60 million per year Small and Disadvantaged Community Grant Program to create a new grant for underground drinking water contamination to help states address communities like those around Millsboro that face high levels of drinking water contamination.
At the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in Ellendale, Carper and U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester were joined by community activists and a crowd that has seen first-hand how failing infrastructure has affected clean drinking water.
“I have been working with families in the area who cannot brush their teeth, cook or drink a glass of water safely from their faucet ... Most of these atrocities have been centered in low-income and minority communities,” said Maria Payan of the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project. “This new legislation authorizes grant money for testing and remediation. The citizens will no longer have to pay for the acts of the polluters,” she said.
National Wildlife Federation CEO Collin O’Mara was on hand to applaud the project. “This is an excellent infrastructure bill, which has gained much momentum due to the hard work of community members,” he said. “Working for the future is something we want to address every day, and we will continue to progress moving forward. We are no longer going to take these issues being overlooked,”
“Let us rejoice,” said Blunt-Rochester. “Clean water is an essential right regardless of the ZIP code you live in, and for us to fully realize that right, we need to improve our nation’s water infrastructure. We never gave up.” To a chorus of amens, she said, “We are in it together, and this is just the beginning.”
Carper told the crowd, “This major water infrastructure bill makes smart investments in critical water infrastructure we don’t see every day, but that Delaware and families in every state rely upon, such as drinking water systems, dams, reservoirs, levees and ports. This bill creates an environment for good-paying jobs here at home.” d
Carper also traveled to Bethany Beach to meet with Lewes Mayor Ted Becker, Bethany Beach Mayor Lew Killmer, President of Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce Sara Booth and Executive Director of the Center for the Inland Bays Chris Bason to address the natural issues facing beach towns relating to Delaware’s low lying elevation, natural weather occurrences and the rise in sea level.
“I’m proud that this bill also includes a new $75 million program to address critical beach nourishment projects along our state’s coast, because as we all know, Delaware’s beaches are a significant part of its $3.3 billion tourism economy. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - nowhere is this truer than in this bill,” said Carper.
To view America’s Water Infrastructure Act and all of the different points that have direct relevance to Delaware visit America's Infrastructure Act PDF