Following the passing of the US $ 1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Bill (HR 3684) last week, the Senate allocated significant funds to developing the country’s environmental and energy infrastructure. The Infrastructure Act also streamlines the environmental review, approval and approval of federal infrastructure projects.
The Infrastructure Act provides funding for:
- Reinstatement of the super fund tax: The Superfund Tax is an excise tax on specially listed chemicals to fund cleanup operations at Superfund locations. The law reintroduces the tax, which is expected to raise $ 14.4 billion over the next 10 years.
- Superfund credit account: The act will provide the U.S. EPA with additional $ 3.5 billion over the next 5 years to take remedial action at the Superfund site. The law waives government cost-sharing requirements and requires the U.S. EPA to address the needs of tribal communities at government-funded Superfund locations.
- Brownfields Grants and Loans: The law provides for $ 1.2 billion in grants and loans over the next five years under the US EPA’s Brownfields program. Brownfield sites are contaminated land that is being remediated and redeveloped for reuse. The US EPA’s Brownfields Program, approved under the Superfund Statute, provides grants and loans for the characterization and remediation of brownfield sites.
- Funds for water infrastructure: The act includes the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (p. 914), which provides $ 55 billion in new permits and new funding under the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act, such as:
- US $ 10 billion in grants to reduce perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances in drinking water and wastewater systems.
- $ 11.73 billion for lead replacement projects and $ 200 million for lead management in school drinking water systems.
- $ 14.65 billion in funding from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which provides grants to states to provide loans for waste systems infrastructure projects.
- Resilience projects: The law provides funding of US $ 17 billion for resilience projects and studies by agencies such as the US EPA, the US Army Corps in areas such as flood protection and control, coastal erosion and risk management, civil protection, waste management, drought resilience, ecosystem restoration, forest fires before pollution management and prevention.
- Funds for the energy infrastructure: The law contains the draft approval for the Energy Infrastructure Act (p. 2377), which includes the following:
- $ 2.5 billion over 5 years to provide US Department of Transportation grants to build publicly accessible charging infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles.
- US $ 1 billion per year for 5 years to fund states creating charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
- $ 1 billion per year for 5 years to replace obsolete school buses, with 50% of the funds going to zero-emission, low-emission buses powered by alternative fuels.
- $ 65 billion for energy and grid infrastructure and resiliency programs, including programs to improve the current grid against extreme weather events, create grid flexibility through the implementation of smart grid technologies, and save energy and reduce CO2 emissions in the transportation sector.
- $ 3 billion in battery manufacturing and recycling and $ 200 million in recycling of electric vehicle batteries and second-life applications.
- Carbon Capture and Hydrogen, Nuclear and Hydropower Energy Research: The bill provides $ 6.42 billion in grants and loans for carbon storage and reduction programs in areas such as public transportation, traffic control, and intelligent transportation systems. The bill provides more than $ 8 billion for clean hydrogen production and hubs for clean hydrogen, $ 6 billion for complementary measures by the Department of Energy related to nuclear power, and $ 200 million for hydropower production and Efficiency increases.
The Infrastructure Act simplifies the environmental assessment, approval and approval of federal infrastructure projects. The law reinstates part of the recently repealed Executive Order 13801 known as “One Federal Decision,” which expedites environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This includes a two-year deadline for completing the environmental review of important federal projects, limiting the scope of environmental impact statements, and developing categorical exclusions to expedite federal projects. In addition, the law amends the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, by repealing the Sunset provision to streamline inter-agency approval and approval of federal infrastructure projects.
The Infrastructure Bill is now in the House of Representatives, contemplating a $ 3.5 trillion budget that includes environmental and energy-related finance, tax incentives, grants and consumer discounts for electric vehicles, green energy production and transportation, and clean energy and home weathering includes. The budget also charges polluter fees for methane and carbon.
The ultimate fate of the Infrastructure Act is uncertain. While it is likely that it will be passed in some form, it is unclear whether the existing provisions of the Environmental and Infrastructure Funding and Project Optimization Act will remain intact. The house is expected to take up both the Infrastructure Act and the budget when it returns from hiatus in late August.