Spokane’s mayor is expected to ask for additional funding and support for cities trying to comply with federal clean water requirements when he testifies before Congress on Thursday.
Mayor David Condon will be the first of six witnesses to testify during a U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on the financial challenges cities face when trying to comply with the clean water requirements. He will represent the United States Conference of Mayors, highlight the city of Spokane’s work to clean up the Spokane River and will ask the committee to include flexibility and funding when it considers new legislation.
Condon said the water quality bill passed by Congress last year, an amendment to the Clean Water Act, did not provide the means for the Environmental Protection Agency to assess a community’s ability to pay for a project nor include enough money for all the cities affected.
“Today we have requirements and they don’t come with necessary funding,” Condon said.
Condon plans to encourage Congress and the EPA to work with state and local governments to ensure communities have a way to pay for greater water treatment requirements. Spokane has a lower-than-average household income level, he said, and many ratepayers don’t have the money for increased utility fees that would be required to cover higher project costs.
“Families can’t afford large utility bill increases to pay for these water projects,” he said.
Condon has been involved in the United States Conference of Mayors since he was elected to his first term in 2012, but this will be his first time testifying in Congress.
The hearing will begin at 7 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Thursday and will be broadcast on the Water Resources and Environment subcommittee website.
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