Skip to content

Washington, DC—Idaho Senator Jim Risch has introduced legislation to protect rural communities from unfunded mandates in drinking water regulations.  Risch was joined by co-sponsor Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming).  The legislation was filed as an amendment to the Small Business Research and Technology Programs bill.

“This legislation would prohibit the EPA from fining small communities that are unable to comply with new water quality standards.  Many of these communities cannot afford costly upgrades to their water systems without technical assistance and financial aid.  If the EPA does not make that assistance available, they will be prohibited from levying fines and penalties on these small towns,” said Risch.  “We want to protect small and rural communities from this latest unfunded mandate handed down by the EPA.”

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to roll out red tape that crushes jobs and overwhelms small and rural communities.  Instead of using its budget to support their mandates, the EPA frequently forces communities to foot the bill.  If they don’t provide the needed assistance, already struggling small rural water systems shouldn’t have to be bound by regulations coming out of Washington.  Our bill will alleviate the EPA’s burden across America,” said Barrasso.

More than 90 percent of water systems in Idaho are in rural communities under 10,000 in population.