Mr. CLEAVER. Communities across the country are coming together, working with the EPA, State and local agencies, and taking steps to access, restore, and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding lands. My Missouri 5 District, a large section of which is Kansas City, is one such community. The EPA regional staff are working with Kansas City and local citizen groups to monitor water supply and plan and conduct improvements to the Blue River watershed and Brush Creek.
Covering 270 square miles, the Blue River compromises the largest watershed in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Its drainage is divided between the States of Kansas and Missouri and flows through three counties, 12 cities, and 10 school districts. Brush Creek is the most visible tributary to the Blue River and runs completely through an area that we are trying to rebuild called the Green Impact Zone. The EPA is monitoring water quality along the watershed and assisting in local efforts
to conduct large-scale watershed planning for Brush Creek and the Blue River.
Whether as a part of a cleanup leading to waterfront development or putting monitoring in place to ensure safe drinking water with the EPA's help, community groups across the country have taken the initiative, engaging volunteers, community organizations, and local and State government to make their waters safe for many uses.
This amendment provides $3 million for urban waters within the EPA's Environmental Programs and Management account, though it is by no means the maximum amount of funds that this program could utilize. It will ensure that this vital, community-driven initiative can continue, and I ask for the approval of this amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment.
The amendment would take $3 million from the BLM Management of Lands and Resources and transfer it to the EPA's Urban Waters Initiative. The BLM Management of Lands and Resources account has already been cut by $43.5 million below the FY11 and $15.5 million below the President's budget request. This account funds the management of the BLM's more than 245 million surface acres and 700 million subsurface acres. Further cuts to this account would not be appropriate.
We eliminated funding for the EPA's new Urban Waters Initiative because it [Page: H5448]
was duplicative funding. Regardless of whether a water body is in an urban or a rural area, EPA and States should be addressing the most impaired waters first, and there are a number of well-established programs that handle that. There is no need for a separate, duplicative initiative in order to protect our urban waters; it only results in duplicative spending.
I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, I support the distinguished gentleman from Missouri. Mr. Cleaver's amendment would add a modest $3 million to the Environmental Protection Agency for the Urban Waters Initiative, which the subcommittee refused to fund.
EPA and the Department of the Interior announced the first pilot demonstrations of this program last month. They included Baltimore's Patapsco watershed, the Anacostia watershed in the District of Columbia and Maryland, the Bronx and Harlem River watersheds in New York, the South Platte River in Denver, the Los Angeles River watershed, the Lake Pontchartrain area in New Orleans, and the northwest Indiana area, all areas in drastic need of attention.
The subcommittee report chides EPA for reprioritizing funds to begin the program in fiscal year 2011 without the express approval of the committee. But my friends on the other side should know that when you fund the government under a continuing resolution, the agency has more flexibility. If we don't want EPA or any other agency to decide how to prioritize funding, then we should pass real bills. And, frankly, they did exactly the right thing in moving forward with this Urban Waters Initiative--that's
where the need is.
Furthermore, denying funds to urban watersheds--where a majority of our population lives--because of a dislike for all things EPA does is simply unfair to these urban communities.
On a bipartisan basis, we have worked together to provide needed funding for rural water programs. We agree that should be a priority, but we should also show the same level of commitment for the Urban Waters Initiative.
This program will also capitalize on work being done through EPA's broader geographic programs, such as Chesapeake Bay and Lake Pontchartrain. These are two very critical water bodies that are endangered. I don't think I need to get into the extent of the endangerment for Chesapeake Bay and certainly not Lake Pontchartrain. Imagine, just think back to what happened in New Orleans just a few years ago. This offset is from the management account of the Bureau of Land Management, which is adequately
funded in the bill.
So I really do support this amendment, and I would urge all of my colleagues to do the same.