In yet another in a series of positive moves under the new Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded almost $236 million to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
The move promises to create jobs, boost local economies, and improve aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in the State of Michigan, and in doing so brings some welcomed good news not only to The Great Lakes State, but also to the EPA itself.
As I happen to work next door to the EPA in Washington DC, I was until recently in the unenviable position of frequenting the same Metro train as many of the agency’s employees. Until recently, the train seemed to carry an almost Orwellian stench of unhappy and repressed government employees.
In recent months however, the train has become a hotbed of “Good mornings,” smiles, and offers to let others through the metro trains doors first. It’s as if a breath of fresh Spring air has blown into DC on the wings of the cherry blossoms.
Good news seems to abound, and Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur recently said that “The EPA is pleased to provide almost $236 million in Recovery Act funds for much needed improvements to Michigan’s aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, including sewer systems. This money will protect human health and improve water quality while helping to create good-paying jobs in the state.”
The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities, and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.
But wait&emdash;the news gets better. An unprecedented $6 billion dollars will be awarded to fund water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country under the Recovery Act, in the form of low-interest loans, principal forgiveness, and grants. At least 20 percent of the funds provided under the Recovery Act are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements, and other environmentally innovative projects.
President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at Recovery.gov.
For more Information on the EPA’s implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 visit http://www.epa.gov/recovery