AWE Legislative Watch

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

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US 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. 873 - Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (Companion Bill to S 535) 
  • H.R. 1278 - Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act of 2015 
  • H.R. 2982 - Solar and Water-Efficient Homes Act of 2015 
  • H.R. 3143 - Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act of 2015 

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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. 

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H.R. 873 - Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (Companion Bill to S 535) 

Status: Introduced and sent to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

Purpose: To improve energy and water efficiency in commercial buildings. 

Sponsor: Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) 

Summary: Among other provisions, this bill 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) 

History: This bill is identical to S 535, sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Rob Portman, R-OH, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH.  It was introduced in the House on Feb. 11, 2015 and immediately referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

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H.R. 1278 - Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act of 2015  

Status: Introduced and referred to three House committees. 

Purpose: To establish federal grants to increase the resiliency and adaptability of water systems to ongoing or forecasted changes in hydrologic conditions.  

Sponsor: Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA)  

Summary: This legislation would authorize $250 million over five years for the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a program of awarding grants to owners or operators of water systems to increase their resiliency or adaptability.  Such projects might include projects to enhance water use efficiency, including through the use of water metering and electronic sensing and control systems; to improve water management by increasing watershed preservation and protection; and to increase efficiency in the use of energy or water of the water.  (Full Text 

History: This  bill was introduced on March 4 and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Natural Resources and the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Envrionment of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  Rep. Capps sponsored a similar measure in the last Congress, but no action was taken. 

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H.R. 2982 - Solar and Water-Efficient Homes Act of 2015  

Status: Introduced July 8, 2015 and referred to committee 

Purpose: To increase dollar limits for loans to help homeowners to add energy efficient and water-saving home improvements. 

Sponsor: Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA)  

Summary: This legislation would increase the maximum federally guaranteed amount from $25,000 to $42,000 for Title I home improvement loans and index that ceiling to inflation. The bill would allow even higher loan amounts for purchasing or implementing energy or water conserving improvements, including greywater systems.  (Full Text 

History: This  bill was referred on July 8, 1015 to the House Financial Services Committee. Rep. Huffman introduced a similar bill in the last Congress, but it died in committee. 

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H.R. 3143 - Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act of 2015  

Status: Introduced July 21, 1015 and referred to committees. 

Purpose: To create an innovative water and energy resource management pilot program.  

Sponsor: Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)   

Summary: This legislation would direct the Secretary of Energy to create a new federal pilot program to demonstrate innovative technology to increase and improve the energy efficiency of water, wastewater, and water reuse systems, to support the implementation of automated systems that provide real-time data on energy and water and to improve energy and water conservation, water quality, and predictive maintenance of energy and water systems through the use of Internet-connected technologies. The legislation would authorize a total of $7.5 million for such pilot programs.  (Full Text)   

History: This  bill was referred on July 21, 1015 to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. A similar bill (S 886) was introduced in the Senate on March 26, 2015 by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). Rep. McNerney introduced a similar bill in the last Congress, but it died in committee. 


US 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 535 - Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (Companion bill to H.R. 873) 
  • S 653 - Water Resources Research Amendments Act of 2015 
  • S 720 - The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2015  
  • S 723 - Utility Energy Service Contracts Improvement Act of 2015 
  • S 869 - All-of-the-Above Federal Building energy Conservation Act of 2015 
  • S 886 - Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act of 2015 
  • S 1218 Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability (NEWS) Act of 2015  
  • S 1485 - Water Efficiency Innovation Act of 2015 

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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.) 

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S 535 - Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 (Companion bill to H.R. 873) 

Status:  Approved by the Senate and the House, and signed by President Obama to become Public Law 14-11. 

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 bill directs 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)  

History:  Similar to legislation that was approved in committee last year, this bill was re-introduced on Jan. 12, 2015 as S 128 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 and it was sent to President Obama, who vetoed the pipeline bill on Feb. 24, 2015.  That same day, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act was considered as separate legislation (S 535), approved by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and sent to the full Senate.  The bill was passed in the Senate by voice vote on March 27, 2015, and sent to the House.  It was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on April 13, 2015.  The bill was passed by voice vote in the House on April 21, 2015 and sent to the White House, where President Obama signed it into law on April 30, 2015. 

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S 653 - Water Resources Research Amendments Act of 2015 

Status:  Approved by the Senate and sent to the House, where it was referred to committee. 

Purpose:  To encourage federally funded water resources research into alternative approaches to water and energy efficiency. 

Sponsors:  Sen. Benjamin Cardin (R-OH) 

Summary:  This legislation would amend the Water Resources Research Amendments Act of 1984 to declare that additional research is required into increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of new and existing treatment works through alternative approaches, including energy use efficiency, water use efficiency and actions to extract energy from wastewater. (Full text as passed by the Senate and sent to the House committee)   

History:  The current bill was introduced on March 4 and referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  The committee approved a similar measure in the last Congress, but no action was taken by the Senate. The committee approved the bill and sent it to the full Senate on May 18, 2015. The Senate passed the bill unanimously on June 9, 2015 and sent it to the House for consideration. It was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources on June 10, 2015. 

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S 720 - The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2015 

Status:  Approved in committee and sent to the full Senate. 

Purpose:  To promote energy and water efficiency in commercial, residential and industrial buildings and for other purposes. 

Sponsors:  Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)  

Summary:  Among several programs to improve energy and water efficiency, this bill would establish a new Supply Star program in the Department of Energy to identify and promote practices and products that use highly efficient supply chains in a manner that conserves energy, water and other resources.  It would also direct the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to establish a demonstration program aimed at  improving energy and water conservation in up to 20,000 multi-family residential buildings.   It would also create a sustainable manufacturing initiative to develop and demonstrate new technology to improve the efficient use of water in manufacturing.  (Full Text as sent to the Senate)    

History:  Introduced on March 11, 2015, and referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  Approved by the Committee and sent to the Senate on July 30, 2015, where it awaits Senate action. Identical legislation (HR 2177) was referred to several House committees on April 30, 2015. S 720 is identical to a measures sponsored by Sens. Portman and Shaheen, which died in committee in the last Congress. Parts of this bill dealing with model building and leasing codes to promote water and energy efficiency were approved by the Senate on March 27, 2015 as S 535 and sent to the House. 

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S 723 - Utility Energy Service Contracts Improvement Act of 2015 

Status:  Introduced and referred to the Senate energy and Natural Resources Committee. 

Purpose:  To extend and amend that National Energy Conservation Policy act to provide guidance on utility energy service contracts used by Federal agencies. 

Sponsors:  Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) 

Summary:  This legislation would permit Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESC) of up to 25 years compared to the 10-year limit now imposed.  UESCs are used to assist federal installations to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and water efficiency projects.  Some agencies have interpreted current law to limit UESC’s to 10 years.  (Full Text)    

History:  This bill was introduced March 12 and referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  Sen. Schatz sponsored a similar bill in an earlier Congress, but no action was taken. 

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S 869 - All-of-the-Above Federal Building Energy Conservation Act of 2015  

Status:  Introduced and referred to committee.  

Purpose:  To improve energy and water efficiency in buildings operated by the federal government. 

Sponsors:  Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) 

Summary:  Directs federal officials to conduct energy and water-use surveys of federal buildings and to develop plans for energy and water efficiency measures, including plans that require water efficiency when water is used in conjunction with energy efficiency.  (Full Text)     

History:  Introduced on March 26, 2015 and referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  A similar bill was sponsored by Sen. Hoeven in the last Congress, but no action was taken. 

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S 886 - Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act of 2015   

Status:  Introduced and referred to committee.  

Purpose:  To establish a pilot program run by the U.S. Energy Department providing grants to communities to increase the energy and water efficiency of water, wastewater, and water reuse systems. 

Sponsors:  Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) 

Summary:  Creates a pilot program to award between three and five demonstration grants to fund innovative new ways to improve water efficiency.  Eligible recipients would include utilities, municipalities and water districts.  (Full Text)    

History:  Introduced on March 26, 2015 and referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  A similar bill was sponsored by Sen. Udall in the last Congress, but no action was taken. 

Click here to download AWE-lead Letter of Support for S 886 (PDF) 

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S 1218 - Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability (NEWS) Act of 2015  

Status:  Introduced May 6, 2015 and referred to the Senate Committee Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 

Purpose:  To focus federal programs on the nexus between energy and water production, use, and efficiency. 

Sponsors:  Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) 

Summary:  Recognizing that vast amounts of water are used every day to produce vital fuels and to cool power plants in the United States while a great deal of electricity is needed to treat, transport and convey water across the country, this bill would create a committee within the National Science and Technology Committee (NSTC) to coordinate and streamline federal activities related to the management of this energy-water nexus. To be co-chaired by the secretaries of Energy and Interior, the committee would identify energy-water nexus activities across the federal government; enhance the coordination of research and development activities; improve relevant data collection and dissemination capabilities; and promote public-private collaboration. (Full Text) 

History:  This bill was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which is chaired by the bill’s sponsor, Lisa Murkowski. A similar measure that she sponsored in the last Congress was approved by the committee and reported to the full Senate on Dec. 10, 2014. But it was never brought up for a vote in the full Senate. 

Click here to download AWE-lead Letter of Support for S 1218 (PDF) 

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S 1485 - Water Efficiency Innovation Act of 2015 

Status:  Introduced June 2, 2015 and referred to committee. 

Purpose:  To improve water and energy efficiency in manufacturing plants and water treatment. 

Sponsors:  Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)  

Summary:  This legislation would direct the Department of Energy to identify opportunities for small and medium sized manufacturing plants and municipal & industrial waste treatment facilities to improve energy and water efficiency. (Full Text 

History:  This bill was referred on June 2, 2015 to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which is already considering similar legislation to expand federal research and promotion of the links between water and energy efficiency. 


Parliament of Canada

41st Parliament, 2nd Session

  • C-653 - An Act to Amend the Canada Water Act (Recycling, Conservation and Efficiency) 

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C-653 - An Act to Amend the Canada Water Act (Recycling, Conservation and Efficiency) 

Status: House of Commons, Introduction and First Reading, 2015-02-18 

Purpose/Summary: This enactment amends the Canada Water Act to: (a) authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting water devices and standards for water recycling, water conservation and water efficiency; (b) confer powers on the Minister of the Environment in respect of the development and undertaking of programs relating to the development and promotion of water devices and water-recycling, water conservation and water efficiency practices; (c) establish requirements in respect of the importation and interprovincial sale or shipping of water devices; (d) create offences in respect of the failure to provide required information and the failure to comply with requirements in respect of the importation and the interprovincial sale or shipping of water devices; and (e) require the Minister to demonstrate in a report to Parliament (i) the extent to which the water efficiency standards prescribed under this Act compare to standards established by other jurisdictions, and (ii) the extent to which water efficiency standards have been prescribed under this Act for water devices whose use has a significant impact on water consumption in Canada. [Latest Information and Text] 

Sponsor: Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis) 

 

 

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. 
  • Parliament of Canada LEGISinfo - Research tool for finding information on legislation before Parliament.