I live in Biddeford, near the Saco River, where the water treatment facility has recently had heavy investment to separate storm and sewage water. The news, reported in the Portland Press Herald, that Maine’s inadequate stormwater and sewage systems are overflowing into rivers and streams statewide highlights the urgent need to continue to make serious investments in our water infrastructure.

An April EPA survey found that Maine’s clean water systems need nearly $4 billion over 20 years — about $3,000 per person, the 11th highest per capita spending by state. Those needs have more than tripled over the last decade. Unfortunately, a spending bill currently proposed in the House calls for a massive 25% cut to critical clean water programs. These misguided cuts target the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) programs — the backbone of our nation’s water infrastructure.

Rep. Chellie Pingree voted against this outrageous defunding proposition and spoke of the need for investments that would promote adaptation to the changes we are seeing and will continue to see across Maine. I hope she and others consider co-sponsoring the WATER Act (HR 1729), a commonsense bill that would provide dedicated annual funding for safe, clean water for all.

Chrystina Gastelum


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