The Senate’s water bills will be signed into law Thursday morning, with the House passing its own version of a bill that would make it harder for businesses to dodge fines and sue state officials.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the Senate’s bill will “save taxpayers billions” by allowing states to pay the costs of wastewater treatment without having to spend money on expensive enforcement measures.
It will also give businesses a more direct path to pay for water treatment without resorting to costly enforcement measures, which would be costly for businesses, said McCarthy, a longtime advocate of water privatization.
In recent weeks, many industries and small businesses have complained that the Trump administration’s water rules, which require all states to purchase or use water from an interstate source, are costing them billions of dollars in lost revenue and harm their bottom lines.
The Senate water bills, however, would give states a choice to use an interstate water source, but they could not impose restrictions on interstate water usage.
“The bill will put the states back in charge of water supplies and help ensure that businesses are paying the price for not following the rules,” McCarthy said.
“It’s a win-win for small businesses and businesses across America, and it’s also a win for consumers.”
A bipartisan group of senators on the committee responsible for water rules and administration issued a statement that called the Senate bill “a good start.”
But the measure’s sponsors said they were still considering amendments to address some of the more contentious elements of the legislation, such as allowing states the ability to set a price for wastewater treatment.
The bill also does not allow states to impose additional restrictions on the flow of water through the state, which critics have argued would stifle competition.
In addition to water regulation, the Senate measure would allow states more flexibility to control who can build, operate and maintain dams and water treatment plants.
A federal judge in Washington last week ordered the federal government to reconsider that order, which is likely to result in the dam and treatment plants being built by the end of the year.
In its announcement of the Senate-passed water bills Thursday, the House said it would vote on the legislation after it passes the Senate, which could happen as soon as Thursday morning.
In an interview Thursday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R, Tenn.), chairman of the committee that is responsible for drafting the bills, said he expected the Senate to be able to pass the Senate version by the time the House is ready to take up its version.
“This is a good beginning,” he said.
The Senate bill would also help expand access to clean drinking water in the state. “
If we get a bipartisan consensus, that’s good for the country.”
The Senate bill would also help expand access to clean drinking water in the state.
The House version would require water utilities to provide water to people who can’t afford to pay extra for water, and the Senate proposal would give them more latitude to set their own prices.
While the House bill would allow for additional water treatment facilities to be built in rural areas and small towns, it would allow only one such facility to be in each county.
The GOP bill would provide funding for up to 100 new treatment plants across the state and provide $1 billion in additional revenue.
In the House, Democratic Reps.
Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and John Yarmuth (D, Ky.) introduced a bill earlier this month that would allow communities to purchase and use water services without having the water department charge them a fee.
But the bill did not include money to fund additional water plants in rural counties.
In a statement, the Committee on Appropriations said the House-passeds water bills “will create jobs and help businesses in Kentucky by helping them build and operate more efficient water treatment and treatment plant infrastructure and by helping the state’s water utilities reduce the amount of water wasted in their systems.”