On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). ARRA contains significant direct spending and loan programs in the environmental area, primarily for existing projects. The following are some of the important environmental provisions in ARRA.
- Environmental Cleanups: ARRA includes $5.127 billion for "defense" environmental cleanups under the Department of Energy (DOE), $438 million for DOE "non-defense" environmental cleanups, $600 million for the Superfund remedial program, $200 million for cleaning up petroleum leaks from underground storage tanks (click here for details), $100 million for brownfields projects under CERCLA, and $100 million for the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program.
- Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water: ARRA provides $4 billion for capitalization grants for the Clean Water State Revolving Funds under the Clean Water Act and $2 billion for capitalization grants under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This funding will be available through individual states using the existing process for revolving loan funds. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance on these funds is available here.
- Water Development: ARRA provides the Army Corps of Engineers with $2 billion for construction activities (including a minimum of $200 million for water-related environmental infrastructure assistance), $2.075 billion for operation and maintenance activities, $375 million for programs, projects and activities on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and $25 million each for investigations and regulatory programs.
- Water Reclamation and Reuse: Congress directed $1 billion to the Bureau of Reclamation for water reclamation and reuse projects, including some specific projects and amounts.
- Watershed Management: ARRA designates $290 million through the Natural Resource Conservation Service for watershed and flood prevention operations, of which $145 million is for floodplain easements, and an additional $50 million for watershed rehabilitation. ARRA provides $650 million for Forest Service watershed restoration and ecosystem enhancement projects and other capital improvements and maintenance.
- Lead: ARRA provides the Department of Housing and Urban Development with $100 million through September 2011 for lead hazard control projects.
- Diesel Emissions: ARRA includes $300 million for projects that reduce diesel emissions.
ARRA assistance will flow through more than 100 state and federal programs. Most of these programs, and most eligible projects, already exist. Some agencies have offered details on how to apply for ARRA funding through these programs, while others continue to develop guidance. Because a major goal of ARRA is to stimulate the economy, projects that are ready to proceed within a one-year window are more likely to be awarded assistance. Those interested in ARRA assistance should closely monitor these developments, and ensure that they file any required applications on time.
For information on energy-related provisions of ARRA, see our February 18, 2009, Email Alert.
The text of ARRA, and relevant grant and funding announcements, will be posted here. Information on federal grants also is regularly updated here.