WASHINGTON, D.C. —
I am hopeful that a bipartisan group of my colleagues and I will soon reintroduce this legislation and that it will be promptly be considered by the full Senate.
We face tragic consequences by ignoring or shortchanging our nation’s water needs, and investments in water infrastructure prior to disasters can even save us money.
An example of this occurred during this past summer’s flooding in the Oklahoma-Texas-Arkansas region. The Corps of Engineers levees, channels and reservoirs prevented an estimated over $5 billion in further damages.
The clean water provisions have proven to be an innovative tool that extends the life of every federal dollar and state match dollar. Since the act’s inception, the federal government has provided $24 billion to the program. In 2006, over $60 billion was available in loans to states and localities.
The safe drinking provision has also proven equally successful.
We must be willing to responsibly invest sufficient funds to properly develop, maintain, repair and replace America’s critical water supply infrastructure. I intend to continue to work to see that our state and local governments have the tools they require to meet their ever increasing needs.
Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., has served in the U.S. Senate since 1994. He is also a former congressman and mayor of Tulsa.