EPA memo steers water money to disadvantaged communities

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

The Biden administration issued guidance to states on Tuesday that it said will ensure the country’s largest-ever investment in water infrastructure doesn’t bypass disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards like pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s guidance memo applies to $43 billion in the infrastructure bill for making drinking water cleaner, improving sewage treatment and replacing lead pipes. The agency said the memo helps the Biden Administration meet its goal of addressing environmental needs in communities that often have high rates of poverty and unemployment.

The money will be distributed over five years and boost programs that give states and territories broad discretion in funding water projects — but with some parameters on how the money should be used. For example, the memo said nearly half of the $15 billion for lead pipe replacements must go to disadvantaged communities.

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