STANDING BEFORE OWASCO LAKE, REP. KATKO HIGHLIGHTS BIPARTISAN EFFORTS TO STRENGHTEN CNY WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
AUBURN, NEW YORK – Standing with a bipartisan group of local legislators at Emerson Park on the northern shore of Owasco Lake, U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) today highlighted his efforts in Congress to strengthen Central New York’s water infrastructure. Representative Katko was joined by Auburn Mayor Michael Quill, Cayuga County Legislature Chairman Keith Batman, and Town of Owasco Supervisor Ed Wagner.
“From harmful algal blooms here in Owasco Lake, to bursting pipes in Syracuse, to sewer problems in Oswego, to aging filtration systems in communities around the district, our region faces water infrastructure challenges like never before,” said Rep. Katko. “Communities small and large are confronting the problems that result from aging infrastructure, and inadequate funding at all levels of government to deal with the problem. But failure to deal with these problems risks our economic growth, risks public health catastrophes like the one in Flint, Michigan, and risks greater cost to CNY taxpayers in the form of bursting pipes, emergency shutdowns, and repairs.”
Rep. Katko, acknowledging the vast challenges faced by municipalities across NY-24, has advocated in Congress for numerous programs to improve water infrastructure across the region.
“In Central New York, we are lucky to have plenty of water. We need to protect it, and ensure that families and businesses can access it safely and easily,” continued Rep. Katko. “Since I began representing our community in Congress, I've been working in every way possible to do just that. Just recently, I led multiple bipartisan efforts urging House appropriators to double funding for Clean Water and Drinking State Revolving Funds, to invest in research into Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), and to prioritize programs for small and rural communities to develop wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. I will continue to advocate for these and other programs to improve our infrastructure in Congress, and I appreciate the local support of Mayor Quill, Chairman Batman, and Supervisor Wagner here today.”
Focused on strengthening water infrastructure for Central New York, Representative Katko has:
- Led a bipartisan effort requesting doubling of the Clean Water and State Water Revolving Funds. This is the primary federal program that provides financial assistance for states and local communities nationwide to make high priority water investments. The majority of public water systems and municipalities across NY-24 depend on these funds to maintain and repair local water infrastructure. This letter to House appropriators received 77 bipartisan signatures.
- Led a bipartisan effort advocating for robust funding of the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Account, which funds research into Harmful Algal Blooms, their cause, and methods of mitigation. With HABs gravely impacting Owasco Lake and the Finger Lakes region generally, Rep. Katko has also supported legislation in the House to require the federal government to lay out a plan to better deal with algal blooms.
- Co-led an effort in the House to increase funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Water and Sewer Loan & Grant Program, which provides loans with reasonable terms, as well as grants, to small and rural communities to develop wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. Rep. Katko also advocated for increased funding for the Circuit Riders Program, which provides technical assistance to small communities to help with compliance with water regulations, and water facility operations.
- Requested funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GRLI) at $300 million. The GLRI is a program designed to address the most significant problems in the Great Lakes, and aims to protect, restore and maintain the Great Lakes ecosystem. It provides federal funds to various initiatives, including major cleanups, invasive species control, habitat restoration for native species, and pollution research and prevention. In the 24th Congressional District, the GLRI has provided grants to counties, towns, and schools to complete environmental restoration and preservation projects on the Finger Lakes in our region and their watersheds.
- Introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and enhance the EPA’s Brownfields Program. This program provides funding necessary to rehabilitate blighted land that was once used for industry, or for the processing or storage of toxic materials and waste and communities throughout the 24th Congressional District have repeatedly benefited from this program.
- Called for robust funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has helped provide funding to groups across the region to protect the environment and waters of public parks and recreation areas.
- Supported the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which has provided grants to groups in the 24th Congressional District to clean up the Finger Lakes, open up tributaries, and maintain watersheds.
Congressman John Katko represents the 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and a portion of Oswego County. For more information, please visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.