S. 3561 (111th): Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2010

111th Congress, 2009–2010. Text as of Jun 30, 2010 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3561

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 30, 2010

(for himself and Mr. Whitehouse) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works

A BILL

To establish centers of excellence for green infrastructure, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act of 2010.

2.

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

many water resources in the United States are declining, particularly in urban areas;

(2)

that decline of water resources is the result of an increase in population, water consumption, and impermeable surfaces, as well as the negative effects of urbanization, commercial and industrial activities, and climate change; and

(3)

an October 2008 study by the National Research Council found that some of the benefits of green infrastructure include increased water supplies, the creation of green jobs, cost savings, and a reduction of stormwater runoff, surface water discharge, stormwater pollution, and stormwater flows.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Administrator

The term Administrator means the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

(2)

Center

The term center means a center of excellence for green infrastructure established under section 4(a).

(3)

Eligible entity

The term eligible entity means—

(A)

a State, tribal, or local government; or

(B)

a local, regional, or other entity that manages stormwater, water resources, or waste water resources.

(4)

Eligible institution

(A)

In general

The term eligible institution means an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)), or a research institution, that has demonstrated excellence in green infrastructure by—

(i)

conducting research on green infrastructure to determine the means by which green infrastructure reduces stormwater runoff, enhances and protects drinking water sources, and improves water quality;

(ii)

developing and disseminating information regarding the means by which an organization can use green infrastructure;

(iii)

providing technical assistance to an organization for a green infrastructure project;

(iv)

developing best practices standards for green infrastructure;

(v)

providing job training relating to green infrastructure;

(vi)

developing course curricula for—

(I)

elementary schools (as defined in section 9101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801));

(II)

secondary schools (as defined in that section);

(III)

institutions of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)); and

(IV)

vocational schools;

(vii)

training students regarding green infrastructure; or

(viii)

providing information to the Federal Government or State, tribal, and local governments regarding the implementation of green infrastructure.

(B)

Associated definition

For purposes of subparagraph (A), the term research institution means an entity that is—

(i)

described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

(ii)

exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and

(iii)

organized and operated for research purposes.

(5)

Green infrastructure

(A)

In general

The term green infrastructure means any stormwater management technique that preserves, restores, enhances, or mimics natural hydrology.

(B)

Inclusions

The term green infrastructure includes—

(i)

methods that promote absorption, uptake, percolation, evapotranspiration, and filtration by soil and plant life; and

(ii)

the preservation or restoration of—

(I)

natural topography, including hills, plains, ravines, and shorelines;

(II)

interconnected networks of natural land that protect essential ecological functions critical for water quality;

(III)

ecology, including forests, grasslands, and deserts;

(IV)

bodies of water, including lakes, flood plains, headwaters, and wetlands; and

(V)

native soil characteristics of composition, structure, and transmissivity.

(6)

Indian tribe

The term Indian tribe has the meaning given the term in section 518(h) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1377(h)).

(7)

State

The term State means—

(A)

each of the several States of the United States;

(B)

the District of Columbia;

(C)

the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;

(D)

Guam;

(E)

American Samoa;

(F)

the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;

(G)

the Federated States of Micronesia;

(H)

the Republic of the Marshall Islands;

(I)

the Republic of Palau; and

(J)

the United States Virgin Islands.

4.

Centers of Excellence for Green Infrastructure

(a)

Establishment of centers

(1)

In general

The Administrator shall provide grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible institutions to establish and maintain not less than 3, and not more than 5, centers of excellence for green infrastructure, to be located in various regions throughout the United States.

(2)

General operation

Each center shall—

(A)

conduct research on green infrastructure that is relevant to the geographical region in which the center is located, including stormwater and sewer overflow reduction, other approaches to water resource enhancement, and other environmental, economic, and social benefits;

(B)

develop manuals and establish industry standards on best management practices relating to State, tribal, local, and commercial green infrastructure for use by State, tribal, and local governments and the private sector;

(C)

provide information regarding research conducted under subparagraph (A) and manuals developed under subparagraph (B) to the national electronic clearinghouse center for publication on the Internet website established under subsection (c) to provide to the Federal Government and State, tribal, and local governments and the private sector information regarding green infrastructure;

(D)

provide technical assistance to State, tribal, and local governments to assist with the construction, operation, and maintenance of green infrastructure projects;

(E)

collaborate with institutions of higher education and private and public organizations in the geographical region in which the center is located on green infrastructure research and technical assistance projects;

(F)

assist institutions of higher education, secondary schools, and vocational schools to develop green infrastructure curricula;

(G)

provide training regarding green infrastructure to institutions of higher education and professional schools;

(H)

evaluate regulatory and policy issues relating to green infrastructure; and

(I)

coordinate with the other centers to avoid duplication of efforts.

(b)

Application

To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, an eligible institution shall prepare and submit to the Administrator an application at such a time, in such form, and containing such information as the Administrator may require.

(c)

National electronic clearinghouse center

Of the centers established under section (a)(1), 1 shall—

(1)

be designated as the national electronic clearinghouse center; and

(2)

in addition to the other functions of that center—

(A)

develop, operate, and maintain an Internet website and a public database that contain information relating to green infrastructure; and

(B)

post to the website information from all centers.

5.

Green infrastructure project grants

(a)

Grant authority

The Administrator shall provide grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to carry out green infrastructure projects in accordance with this section.

(b)

Green infrastructure projects

(1)

Planning and development grants

The Administrator may make planning and development grants under this section for the following projects:

(A)

Planning and designing green infrastructure projects, including engineering surveys, landscape plans, maps, and implementation plans.

(B)

Identifying and developing standards and revisions to local zoning, building, or other local codes necessary to accommodate green infrastructure projects.

(C)

Identifying and developing fee structures to provide financial support for design, installation, and operations and maintenance of green infrastructure.

(D)

Developing training and educational materials regarding green infrastructure for distribution to—

(i)

individuals and entities with applicable technical knowledge; and

(ii)

the public.

(E)

Developing a green infrastructure portfolio standard program described in section 6(e).

(2)

Implementation grants

The Administrator may make implementation grants under this section for the following projects:

(A)

Installing green infrastructure.

(B)

Protecting or restoring interconnected networks of natural areas that protect water quality.

(C)

Monitoring and evaluating the environmental, economic, or social benefits of green infrastructure.

(D)

Implementing a best practices standard for a green infrastructure program.

(E)

Implementing a green infrastructure portfolio standard program described in section 6(e).

(c)

Application

Except as otherwise provided in this Act, to be eligible to receive a grant under this section, an eligible entity shall prepare and submit to the Administrator an application at such time, in such form, and containing such information as the Administrator may require, including, as applicable—

(1)

a description of the green infrastructure project;

(2)

a plan for monitoring the impacts of the green infrastructure project on the water quality and quantity;

(3)

an evaluation of other environmental, economic, and social benefits of the green infrastructure project; and

(4)

a plan for the long-term operation and maintenance of the green infrastructure project.

(d)

Additional requirement for green infrastructure portfolio standard project

In addition to an application under subsection (c), a State or Indian tribe applying for a grant for a green infrastructure portfolio standard program described in section 6(e) shall prepare and submit to the Administrator a schedule of increasing minimum percentages of the annual water to be managed using green infrastructure under the program.

(e)

Priority

In making grants under this section, the Administrator shall give priority to applications submitted on behalf of—

(1)

a community that—

(A)

has combined storm and sanitary sewers in the collection system of the community; or

(B)

is a low-income or disadvantaged community, as determined by the Administrator; or

(2)

an eligible entity that will use not less than 10 percent of the grant to provide service to a low-income or disadvantaged community, as determined by the Administrator.

(f)

Maximum amounts

(1)

Planning and development grants

(A)

Single grant

The amount of a single planning and development grant provided under this section shall be not more than $200,000.

(B)

Aggregate amount

The total amount of all planning and development grants provided under this section during a fiscal year shall be not more than 1/3 of the total amount made available to carry out this section.

(2)

Implementation grants

(A)

Single grant

The amount of a single implementation grant provided under this section shall be not more than $3,000,000.

(B)

Aggregate amount

The total amount of all implementation grants provided under this section during a fiscal year shall be not more than 2/3 of the total amount made available to carry out this section.

(g)

Federal share

(1)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (3), the Federal share of a grant provided under this section shall not exceed 65 percent of the total project cost.

(2)

Credit for implementation grants

The Administrator shall credit toward the non-Federal share of the cost of an implementation project carried out under this section the cost of planning, design, and construction work completed for the project using funds other than funds provided under this Act.

(3)

Exception

The Administrator may waive the Federal share limitation under paragraph (1) for an eligible entity that has adequately demonstrated financial need.

6.

Environmental Protection Agency Green Infrastructure Program

(a)

Establishment

The Administrator shall establish within the Office of Water of the Environmental Protection Agency a green infrastructure program, the purposes of which shall be—

(1)

to coordinate and promote the use of green infrastructure; and

(2)

to integrate green infrastructure into permitting programs.

(b)

Duties

The Administrator shall carry out the green infrastructure program by—

(1)

promoting the use of green infrastructure in the programs of the Environmental Protection Agency; and

(2)

coordinating efforts to increase the use of green infrastructure with—

(A)

other Federal departments and agencies;

(B)

State, tribal, and local governments; and

(C)

the private sector.

(c)

Regional implementation of green infrastructure program

The Administrator shall direct each regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a program to promote and integrate the use of green infrastructure within the region that includes—

(1)

a plan for monitoring, financing, mapping, and designing the green infrastructure;

(2)

outreach and training regarding green infrastructure implementation for State, tribal, and local governments and the private sector; and

(3)

the incorporation of green infrastructure into permitting and other regulatory programs, codes, and ordinance development, including the requirements under consent decrees and settlement agreements in enforcement actions.

(d)

Green infrastructure compliance assistance center

The Administrator shall establish a compliance assistance center, including a Internet website, to share information with, and provide technical assistance to, State, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, and the public regarding green infrastructure approaches for—

(1)

reducing water pollution;

(2)

protecting water resources;

(3)

complying with regulatory requirements; and

(4)

achieving other environmental, public health, and community goals.

(e)

Green infrastructure portfolio standard

The Administrator, in collaboration with State, tribal, and local water resource managers, shall establish measurable goals, to be known as the green infrastructure portfolio standard, to increase the percentage of annual water managed by eligible entities that use green infrastructure.

7.

Report to Congress

Not later than September 30, 2014, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a report that includes, with respect to the period covered by the report—

(1)

a description of all grants provided under this Act;

(2)

a detailed description of—

(A)

the projects supported by those grants; and

(B)

the outcomes of those projects;

(3)

a description of the improvements in technology, environmental benefits, resources conserved, efficiencies, and other benefits of the projects funded under this Act;

(4)

recommendations for improvements to promote and support green infrastructure for the centers, grants, and programs under this Act; and

(5)

a description of existing challenges concerning the use of green infrastructure.

8.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act such sums as are necessary for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2014.