AWE Legislative Watch

congressThe Alliance for Water Efficiency is pleased to monitor federal legislation and inform members of bills relating to water conservation and efficiency.  Additionally, as it comes to our attention, we will include pertinent state-level legislation.  Check back often for updates. 

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U.S. House of Representatives

114th Congress

  • H.R. 201 - Community Parks Revitalization Act 
  • H.R. 291 - Water in the 21st Century Act (Companion Bill to S 176) 
  • H.R. 568 - Thermal Insulation Efficiency Improvement Act 

 

H.R. 201 - Community Parks Revitalization Act 

Status:  Introduced January 7, 2015 and referred to committee. 

Purpose:  To expand federal loans and grants for creation and improvement of parks and recreational facilities, including storm water management and water conservation measures. 

Sponsor:  Rep. Albio Sires [D-NJ] 

Summary:  This bill would authorize $50 million a year for four years to provide grants, loans and loan guarantees for community parks and recreational facilities, including projects that provide for storm water management and water conservation. (Full Text) 

History:  This bill was assigned to the House Committee on financial Services and the Committee on Natural Resources on January 7. 

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H.R. 291 - Water in the 21st Century Act (Companion Bill to S 176)  

Status:  Introduced on January 13, 2015 and referred to committees. 

Purpose:  To establish a federal WaterSense program, to provide funding for water recycling, storage and integrated management and for other purposes. 

Sponsor:  Rep. Grace Napolitano [D-CA] 

Summary:  This bill would provide official authorization for the WaterSense program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and authorize funding of $50 million for the program and $700 million for rebates over the next four years.  The legislation would also authorize $800 million in federal grants to mitigate water systems against the effects of drought and provide federal loans and loan guarantees for recycling, storage and integrated management projects (Full Text) 

History:  This bill was assigned to several House committees on January 13, 2015, including the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Natural Resources. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate on the same date by Sen. Barbara Boxer [D-CA]. 

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H.R. 568 - Thermal Insulation Efficiency Improvement Act 

Status:  Introduced Jan. 27, 2015 and referred to committee. 

Purpose:  To determine the impact of thermal insulation on energy and water use. 

Sponsor:  Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) 

Summary:  This will would require the Secretary of Energy to prepare a report on the impact of thermal insulation on both energy and water use for potable hot and chilled water in federal buildings, including the return on investment for installing such insulation. (Full Text) 

History:  Introduced Jan. 27, 2015 and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

 

U.S. Senate

114th Congress

  • S 128 - Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015  
  • S 176 - Water in the 21st Century Act (Companion Bill to H.R. 291) 
  • S 268 - Rebuild America Act 
  • S 280 - Federal Permitting Improvement Act of 2015 

 

S 128 - Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 

Status:  Passed by the Senate on January 20, 2015 and by the House on February 11, 2015 as an amendment to the Keystone Pipeline bill, and sent to President Obama for his consideration.

Purpose:  To improve energy and water efficiency in commercial buildings 

Sponsors:  Sens. Rob Portman [R-OH] and Jeanne Shaheen [D-NH] 

Summary:  Among other provisions, this amendment would direct the administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) to develop model leasing codes that encourage cost-effective energy and ¬water efficiency measures in commercial buildings.  Such model codes should “align the interests of building owners and tenants with regard to investments in cost-effective energy efficiency measures and cost-effective water efficiency measures to encourage building owners and tenants to collaborate to invest in such measures.”  The GSA administrator is further instructed to utilize the model codes in all leasing of space by the federal government and to provide assistance to local governments seeking to implement such codes. (Full text of the bill as approved by Congress and sent to President Obama.) 

History:  Similar to legislation that was approved in committee last year, this bill was re-introduced on Jan. 12, 2015 and passed by the Senate on January 20, 2015 on a 94-5 roll-call vote as an amendment to the legislation directing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project.  The House approved the Senate-passed bill by 270-152 on February 10, 2015.  The bill now goes to President Obama, who has promised to veto this legislation if it reaches his desk.  Supporters of the pipeline are not likely to overturn such a veto.

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S 176 - Water in the 21st Century Act (Companion Bill to H.R. 291) 

Status:  Introduced on January 13, 2015 and referred to committee. 

Purpose:  To establish a federal WaterSense program, to provide funding for water recycling, storage and integrated management and for other purposes. 

Sponsor:  Sen. Barbara Boxer [D-CA] 

Summary:  This bill would provide official authorization for the WaterSense program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and authorize funding of $50 million for the program and $700 million for rebates over the next four years.  The legislation would also authorize $800 million in federal grants to mitigate water systems against the effects of drought and provide federal loans and loan guarantees for recycling, storage and integrated management projects (Full text is not yet available.) 

History:  This bill was assigned on January 13, 2015 to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.  A companion bill was introduced in the House on the same date by Rep. Grace Napolitano [D-CA]. 

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S 268 - Rebuild America Act 

Status:  Introduced Jan. 27, 2015 and referred to committee. 

Purpose: To Improve the infrastructure of the United States. 

Sponsor:  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 

Summary:  This bill would authorize $1 trillion in federal funding over five years for infrastructure improvements, including water infrastructure projects.  Bill does not specify where money would come from, but increasing the gasoline tax has been mentioned as a possibility, at least for transportation projects. (Full Text) 

History:  Introduced Jan. 27, 2105 and referred to the Senate Committee on Housing, Banking and Urban Affairs. 

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S 280 - Federal Permitting Improvement Act of 2015 

Status:  Introduced Jan. 28, 2015 and referred to committee. 

Purpose:  To improve the efficiency, management, and interagency coordination of the Federal permitting process. 

Sponsor:  Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 

Summary:  This bill would direct the White House Office of Management and Budget to set up mechanisms to speed up and coordinate federal review of large projects costing $25 million or more that require federal review or approval, including those involving water resource projects.  (Full Text) 

History:  introduced 1/18 and referred to Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  A similar measure (S 1397) was introduced in the last Congress, but no action was taken.) 

 

Related Links: 

  • GovTrack.us - An independent tool to help the public research and track the activities in the U.S. Congress. 
  • THOMAS - Library of Congress site offering federal legislative information freely to the public.