Congressman Tim Ryan Votes to Improve America’s Water Infrastructure
Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan today made the following statement after voting in favor of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WRDA), which authorizes water resources development projects and includes Congressman Ryan’s legislation to create the position of a Great Lakes algal bloom coordinator. This bill also authorizes funding to help address the public health crisis in Flint, Michigan and finally help these communities get access to clean drinking water.
“I’m proud that the House of Representatives passed the WRDA bill that contained my legislation to finally create a coordinator within the EPA to defend our fresh water from harmful algal blooms. Our state’s abundance of fresh water is a vital resource and strategic advantage, and it’s our duty as Ohioans to ensure Lake Erie and the Great Lakes are able to continue to thrive. Harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes have affected over a half million Ohioans in recent years.
“Lake Erie supports over 117,000 fulltime jobs and provides drinking water to approximately 3 million Ohioans. This bipartisan legislation would encourage the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate a coordinator to work with federal, state, tribal, and local governments. I will continue to work with my colleagues from the Great Lakes region to combat these harmful algal blooms that threaten the health and well-being of our state.
“Safety is, and always will be, my number one priority. It is outrageous that the community of Flint, Michigan has had to wait over two years to get the critical resources needed to address this public health crisis. Clean drinking water is not a privilege, but a right for all Americans. I am pleased this legislation responds accordingly by authorizing up to $150 million for improving the Flint’s water infrastructure.
“However, I was disappointed that this legislation only established ‘Buy America’ requirements for drinking water infrastructure projects for one year. Now is the time that we should be doing everything in our power to create jobs at home, and that means strengthening and expanding ‘Buy America’ provisions.”