Sept. 12, 2022: EPA Announces $170M in Brownfields Grants
The EPA announced the availability of approximately $170 million in funding for Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants under the fiscal year 2023 grant competitions. A brownfield is a property whose expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. The EPA anticipates awarding 198 grants nationwide at amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2 million per award.
Aug. 26, 2022: EPA Issues New Guidance for IIJA Investments for Water Infrastructure in U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia
The EPA issued a memorandum to help implement over $173 million for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure needs in the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. As part of the memorandum, the EPA is providing information and guidelines on how it will award and administer FY 2022 allocations of $63 million to D.C. and $110 million to the territories, including American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The memo builds on a March 2022 memo, which described overall implementation for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, and those for emerging contaminants and lead service line replacement.
Aug. 25, 2022 - DOI Awards $560M in Initial Funding to States for Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells
The IIJA includes a $4.7 billion investment to plug orphaned oil and gas wells, and the Department of the Interior awarded the first round of $560 million from the IIJA to 24 states to begin this work. Of states eligible for funding, 22 have been allocated $25 million each in Initial State Grants. Arkansas and Mississippi will receive $5 million each to support methane measurement and begin plugging wells. Eligible states have indicated there are over 10,000 high-priority well sites across the country ready for immediate remediation efforts, with many more lined up for future action. As of 2021, states have identified more than 129,000 orphaned wells on state and private land, though this number will grow as IIJA funding becomes available for further records research, more field equipment, improved well location techniques, and increased site inspections and data collection nationwide.
July 26, 2022: EPA Announces Investment for the National Estuary Program
The EPA announced an investment of $132 million over the next five years aimed at protecting and restoring estuaries of national significance and manage other key water quality and habitat challenges across 28 estuaries along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts and in Puerto Rico. The National Estuary Program is a place-based program that, since 1987, has funded projects that restore water quality and ecological integrity across 28 estuaries of national significance. IIJA funding will accelerate work on Comprehensive Conservation Management Plans, which are structured frameworks for protecting and restoring estuary resources and meeting water quality needs.
July 20, 2022: DOI Releases Guidance on Abandoned Mine Land Program
The DOI released guidance for eligible states and tribes on how to apply for the funding via the IIJA reclaim Abandoned Mine Lands (AML). In total the IIJA will provide a total of $11.3 billion to aid in AML reclamation. The draft guidance also includes information on how applicants can ensure that activities funded under the program are putting people to work, protecting the environment, investing in disadvantaged communities consistent with the administration’s Justice 40 Initiative.
July 5, 2022: DOI Announces $36M to Safeguard Local Water Supplies, Funds Water Efficiency Projects
The DOI announced a $36.1 million investment, including $26.7 million in funds from the federal infrastructure law, to safeguard local water supplies in the wake of record drought across the West. Twenty-seven projects in 12 states and the first-ever in Puerto Rico will be awarded funding to advance quantifiable and sustained water savings by protecting watersheds impacted by wildland fire, restoring aquatic habitats and stream beds, and advancing other environmental restoration projects to mitigate drought-related impacts.
Related, the DOI also announced a $25.5 million investment in water efficiency and drought resilience projects in eight western states via IIJA funds for WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants. Fourteen projects in eight western states will be awarded funding to help local communities improve water use efficiency by lining canals, upgrading water meters, installing automated gates to control water flow and making other infrastructure improvements.
June 26, 2022: Report on Defining Disadvantaged Communities Released
The EPA released a report for states on DWSRF Disadvantaged Community (DACs) Definitions. States have broad discretion in defining DACs, establishing loan rates and loan terms, deciding how much of their capitalization grant to award as additional subsidy, and establishing criteria for the distribution of additional subsidy.
The IIJA amended the Safe Drinking Water Act to expand the forms of additional subsidy states may provide for projects serving disadvantaged communities, specifying that grants, negative interest loans, other loan forgiveness, and buying, refinancing, or restructuring debt are allowable forms. The law also increased the minimum amount of disadvantaged community additional subsidy that states must provide, from 6% to 12% of their annual federal capitalization grant. As many of the state DACs were developed prior to the passage of IIJA, EPA released the report to serve as a resource for states interested in revising their DAC assistance programs.
May 20, 2022: First Round of $500M in Clean School Bus Funding Open
The administration announced $500 million for clean school buses, representing the first round of funding from the $5 billion investment for low and zero-emission school buses over the next five years via the IIJA. The EPA has been authorized by Congress to prioritize applications that will replace buses serving high-need local education agencies, tribal schools, and rural areas, aligning with the administration’s Justice40 initiative to direct at least 40% of the benefits of certain government investments to underserved communities. The EPA is accepting applications from May 20 until Aug. 19, 2022.
May 15, 2022: EPA Announces $1.9 Billion State Revolving Fund via IIJA
The EPA announced $1.9 billion in grant funding to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) via annual appropriations for fiscal year 2022, which will be added to $7.7 billion in SRF funding through the IIJA for 2022. In 2022, the EPA is providing approximately $3.2 billion to the Clean Water SRFs, including $1.2 billion in new base federal grant funding, and $2 billion through the IIJA, with more than $47 million in direct grant funding is available to tribes, certain U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia for infrastructure projects. The EPA is also providing $6.4 billion to the Drinking Water SRFs, including $728 million in new base federal grant funding, and $5.7 billion through the IIIJA, with more than $32 million in direct grant funding is available to tribes, certain U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia to use for drinking water system upgrades.
May 12, 2022: States to Receive More Than $68.4 Billion to Conserve and Strengthen Ecosystems and Economies
The DOI announced that 125 ecosystem restoration projects in over 20 states, tribes and territories will receive nearly $68.4 million in FY 2022 funding provided for via the IIJA. Agencies that will receive the funding include Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey, and they will work with state, tribal, and territorial governments to distribute the funding. Funding will be used to: advance healthy forests to reduce wildfire risk; mitigate hazards and restore mined lands; restore recreation sites and national parks; and restore ecosystems by detecting and eradicating invasive species.
May 9, 2022: Department of Interior Announces Funding via IIJA for Aging Water Infrastructure
The DOI announced an investment of $240.4 million for infrastructure repairs in FY 2022 via the IIJA. The funding, facilitated through the Bureau of Reclamation, includes significant repairs on canal linings, dam spillways and water pipeline replacements. Among the 46 projects selected for funding are large projects to conduct canal repairs in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming, dam spillway repairs in Kansas, pipeline repairs in Utah and investments in a pumping plant in Montana. Projects in Colorado, Oregon and Washington are also being funded.
April 15, 2022: U.S. Forest Service Announces SRS Payments to States
The U.S. Forest Service announced $238 million in Secure Rural Schools (SRS) payments to 41 states, and Puerto Rico, for FY 2021. A revenue share program, the SRS provides critical funding for schools, roads and other municipal services, with payments made to states based on historical revenue generated from timber sales on federal lands. The FY 2021 round of payments is the first of three authorized payments under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which not only reauthorized the program, through FY 2023, but also increased funding for all three years to FY 2017 levels. Each state’s payment amount is determined by various factors set in IIJA, including the number of counties electing to share in a state's payment.
April 11, 2022: U.S. Forest Service Expands Wildfire Prevention Efforts in 8 Western States
The U.S. Forest Service unveiled the 200,000 acres of lands across eight states the agency will target with expanded wildfire prevention efforts, the first step in a new long-term strategy to curb fires in Western forests. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona will receive a combined $131 million from the USDA to mitigate potential blazes in high-risk areas and to bolster their workforces in FY 2022, across some 208,000 acres. The funding also includes $34 million for new workforce salaries. The funds come from the IIJA and begin work on the Forest Service’s 10-year wildfire strategy: Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests.
March 31, 2022: Bureau of Reclamation Announces Funding for Projects via IIJA
The Bureau of Reclamation announced FY 2022 projects for two activities funded in the IIJA. Of the $1 billion appropriated for previously authorized rural water projects, $420 million was announced for six projects. Of the $500 million provided for dam safety, $100 million will go toward the B.F. Sisk Dam in California.
March 17, 2022: EPA Releases Guidance for Clean School Bus Program
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy released new resources to help school districts and others who may be eligible to prepare for the $5 billion Clean School Bus Program launched under the infrastructure package. Funding is expected to be released later this spring for replacing old fleets with electric and other low-emission alternatives.
Feb 17, 2022: EPA Announces $1 Billion Investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law For Cleanup and Restoration of Great Lakes
The Environmental Protection Agency announced the beginning of awarding of $1 billion investment in the Great Lakes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up and restore severely degraded sites, known as “Areas of Concern” or AOCs. The funding is aimed at accelerating progress on AOCs for completion by 2030 with 28 of the 31 AOCs expected to now be completed by 2030.
Feb. 7, 2022: DOI Awards Funds for Abandoned Mine Land Cleanup
The Department of Interior announced $725 million in FY 2022 funding for 22 states and the Navajo Nation—the first portion of the $11.3 billion made available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is to clean up abandoned mine lands (AML). States and tribes had to first apply to receive funds—the department will allocate and distribute nearly $725 million annually over the next 15 years, based on states’ and tribes' demonstrated need for Abandoned Mine Land funding. As required by the infrastructural law, these allocations are determined based on the number of tons of coal historically produced in each state or on Indian lands before Aug. 3, 1977, when the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 was enacted. States are guaranteed at least $20 million over the 15-year life of the program if their inventory of AML sites would cost more than $20 million to address. A breakdown of how much each state would receive can be found here.
Jan. 31, 2022: Interior Department Awards States Funds for Orphan Wells
The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the awarding of $1.15 billion to states under the New Orphaned Well Site Plugging, Remediation, and Restoration Program. The announcement includes state-specific funding eligibility for both Initial grants of $25 million per state, and Phase One Formula Grants based on the number of wells for the 26 states that submitted notices of intent to apply for formula funding. The DOI also noted that it plans to release detailed guidance for states to apply for Initial Grants in the coming weeks. Guidance will also be released in the coming months for states to access formula grant funding, followed by further instructions to apply for $1.5 billion in State Performance Grants, the third type of state grant program established in the IIJA.
Jan. 5, 2022: Department of Interior Announces Grant Updates for State Funds for Plugging Orphaned Wells
The DOI announced that 26 states had applied for $4.7 billion in formula funds included in the IIJA to address orphaned well site plugging, remediation and restoration activities. Previously, the DOI released initial guidance outlining eligible activities that states may use grant funding for, including plugging wells, remediating and reclaiming lands impacted by oil and gas development activities, and removing infrastructure associated with the wells. It also included information on how states can apply for grant opportunities, and timelines for implementing the programs. The DOI will publish the amount of formula grant funding that each state will be entitled to apply for, as well as detailed application guidance, in the coming weeks. States are also able to apply at any time for an initial grant of up to $25 million to begin building out their plugging programs and remediating high-priority wells. Further instructions on applying for performance grants, the third type of state grant programs set up in the law, will be released later this year.
Jan. 4, 2022: White House Requests Each State Appoint an Infrastructure Czar
White House infrastructure czar Mitch Landrieu sent a request to all governors to appoint a high-level person to serve as the state’s own infrastructure implementation coordinator and be responsible for transportation, water, broadband and energy investments to coordinate implementation of the various infrastructure programs.
Dec. 3, 2021: EPA Sends Letter to Governors on State Revolving Funds Letter, Releases FY 2022 Allotments
EPA Administrator Michael Regan sent a letter to governors on water infrastructure provisions of the bipartisan infrastructure law. The letter urges governors to target the funds they are now receiving toward disadvantaged communities, to prioritize lead-line replacement in communities with the highest lead levels, and to prioritize addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in communities with water contamination. The letter also includes the estimated 2022 state allotments of BIL funds through the SRFs.
Additionally, in late-December the EPA released a summary of estimated SRF 2022 state allotments of BIL funds to state and territories by program (DWSRF, DWSRF Lead Service Line Replacement, DWSRF Emerging Contaminants, CWSRF and CWSRF Emerging Contaminants).
EPA Releases Plans to Use $1 Billion in IIJA to Clear Superfund Backlog
The EPA announced a $1 billion investment from the IIJA to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country. The $1 billion investment is the first wave of funding from the $3.5 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help cleanup polluted Superfund sites in communities. The backlog of previously unfunded sites that will now be receiving funding are in 24 states and territories and all 10 EPA regions, including some communities that have been waiting for cleanup for more than four years.
EPA Releases Implementation Page for IIJA
The EPA launched an implementation webpage for the IIJA which features an interactive breakdown of funding allocations for various EPA programs and funding categories.
Dec. 17, 2022: DOI Releases Implementation Guidance to States to Address Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells
The DOI released initial guidance for states interested in applying for federal grants that will fund the proper closure and cleanup of orphaned oil and gas wells and well sites. IIJA includes $4.7 billion for orphaned well site plugging, remediation and restoration activities. The new guidance outlines eligible activities that states may use grant funding for, including plugging wells, remediating and reclaiming lands impacted by oil and gas development activities and removing infrastructure associated with the wells. It also includes information on how states can apply for the grant opportunities, and timelines for implementing the programs. Each state may receive up to $25 million initial funding for eligible activities that will help carry out these provisions. States have until Dec. 30, 2021, to notify the department if they intend to apply for a larger formula grant.