Senator Fetterman Advances Key Water Resources Bill

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WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senator John Fetterman joined his colleagues today in voting to advance the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2024. The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee approved the bill, which, once passed into law, will authorize critical projects by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including several in Pennsylvania.

“Living on the Monongahela River, I’ve seen the important work that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does up close,” said Senator Fetterman. “Thanks to this funding and the work of the Army Corps, Philadelphia ratepayers will likely avoid an almost $300 hike in their water bill, communities across the commonwealth will be able to remediate acid mine drainage, Johnstown will be able to rebuild their river walls, and more. These projects will be huge for Pennsylvania – I’m proud to have fought for and secured this funding.”

The WRDA 2024, bolstered by Fetterman’s advocacy, promises several important projects for Pennsylvania:

Acid Mine Drainage Remediation – The bill authorizes a new $50 million pilot program to restore waters affected by acid mine drainage in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Communities plagued by acid mine drainage in Pennsylvania will gain access to engineering and financial assistance from the Army Corps.

Environmental Infrastructure – The bill authorizes $38.6 million for environmental infrastructure projects, including water and wastewater systems across Pennsylvania. It expands the current Sec. 313 authorization, enabling the Army Corps to assist with water-related infrastructure and resource protection projects statewide, opening more opportunities for technical support and funding.

Philadelphia Water Infrastructure – The bill increases the authorization for Philadelphia’s water infrastructure to $3 million. This will help the Army Corps assist with the Philadelphia Water Department’s upgrades and save the city’s ratepayers nearly $300 annually.

Johnstown Ecosystem and Flood Management – The bill authorizes Johnstown to undertake ecosystem restoration, recreation, and flood risk management along the Little Conemaugh, Conemaugh, and Stonycreek Rivers. This project aims to prevent flood damage while providing community access and revitalization through nature-based interventions.

South Philadelphia Wetlands Park – The bill includes a project for ecosystem restoration and shoreline stabilization as part of the South Philadelphia Wetlands Park initiative. This effort will transform a formerly industrial riverfront into natural bank conditions and create a new public park in an area lacking greenspace.

Williamsport Northwest Levee System – The bill directs the Army Corps to expedite the completion of the Williamsport Northwest Levee System.

A Sustainable Future Through WRDA 2024

These projects are crucial for several reasons. They aim to address long-standing environmental issues, improve infrastructure, and protect communities from natural disasters. Acid mine drainage has been a persistent problem in Pennsylvania, polluting waterways and harming ecosystems. The $50 million pilot program will help restore these vital water sources.

In addition, the increased funding for environmental infrastructure will strengthen Pennsylvania’s water and wastewater systems, ensuring they can meet future demands. This is particularly important for rural areas that often lack the resources to upgrade their infrastructure.

Philadelphia’s water infrastructure improvements will provide significant savings for residents and enhance the city’s ability to manage its water resources effectively. By avoiding a potential $300 annual increase in water bills, the city can allocate those funds to other pressing needs.

The Johnstown project will not only protect the community from floods but also use nature-based solutions to enhance local ecosystems. This dual approach benefits both the environment and the residents.

The South Philadelphia Wetlands Park project represents a shift towards sustainable urban development. Transforming an industrial riverfront into a public park will provide much-needed greenspace and improve the quality of life for residents.

Lastly, expediting the completion of the Williamsport Northwest Levee System will enhance flood protection and ensure the safety of the community.

In summary, the WRDA 2024, championed by Senator Fetterman, represents a significant investment in Pennsylvania’s environmental and infrastructure future. By addressing critical issues and promoting sustainable solutions, this legislation aims to create a safer, healthier, and more resilient state for all its residents.

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