Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?
                                                       Calendar No. 406
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    108-205

======================================================================



 
               NEW YORK CITY WATERSHED PROTECTION PROGRAM

                                _______
                                

               November 20, 2003.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Inhofe, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [to accompany S. 1425]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred a bill (S. 1425) to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act 
to reauthorize the New York City Watershed Protection Program, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                    General Statement and Background

    The New York City watershed covers an area of over 1,900 
square miles in the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River 
Valley. The watershed is divided into two reservoir systems: 
the Catskill/Delaware watershed located West of the Hudson 
River and the Croton watershed, located East of the Hudson 
River. Together, the two reservoir systems deliver 
approximately 1.4 billion gallons of water each day to nearly 9 
million people in New York City, much of Westchester County, 
and areas of Orange, Putnam, and Ulster Counties.
    The Catskill/Delaware watershed covers 1,600 square miles 
and provides about 90 percent of New York's water supply. Water 
from the Catskill/Delaware system is ultimately collected into 
two sequential reservoirs, the Kensico and the Hillview 
reservoirs, before entering the distribution system. Drinking 
water from the Catskill/Delaware System is of high quality and 
is currently delivered to New York residents without 
conventional filtration.
    The Safe Drinking Water Act (Section 1412(b)(7)(C)(i)) 
requires the Administrator to promulgate regulations specifying 
the criteria under which filtration (including coagulation and 
sedimentation, as appropriate) is required as a treatment 
technique for public water systems supplied by surface water 
sources.
    However, the law does allow EPA to grant a waiver from 
these requirements to water suppliers if they demonstrate that 
they have an effective watershed control program and that their 
water meets strict quality standards.
    Due to the high volume of water delivered by New York 
City's water supply system, the cost of retrofitting filtration 
technology onto the existing water system would have been 
prohibitively expensive both for rate payers and for government 
agencies. Because its high water quality, on January 19, 1993, 
EPA issued an initial determination granting filtration 
avoidance to the City of New York. In order to maintain its 
high quality of water and satisfy the requirements for 
filtration avoidance, in September 1993, the City submitted 
``New York City's 1993 Long-Term Watershed Protection and 
Filtration Avoidance Program'' to demonstrate that the 
Catskill/Delaware system could and would continue to meet the 
filtration avoidance criteria in the future. In 1996, the EPA 
re-evaluated the filtration avoidance it had granted, but did 
not reissue it due to concern over the City's failure to meet 
several conditions of the 1993 program. Specifically, the City 
was unable to obtain a land acquisition permit or approval of 
revised watershed regulations from the State of New York. It 
was also unable to upgrade wastewater treatment plans located 
outside New York City limits which were necessary to ensure 
watershed protection from point discharges of contaminants and 
excess nutrients.
    In order to ensure that the high quality of New York City's 
water was maintained, the State of New York engaged the 
watershed stakeholders in a consensus-building approach to 
negotiate a watershed protection program. In 1997, New York 
State, the City of New York, the Environmental Protection 
Agency, the counties of Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan, 
Ulster, Putnam, and Westchester, watershed municipalities, and 
a number of environmental groups entered into a watershed 
protection agreement, called the Watershed Memorandum of 
Agreement (MOA), that is designed to protect New York's 
drinking water supply source and maintain high water quality.
    The MOA is an example of EPA's successful use of the 
filtration avoidance authority provided in the Safe Drinking 
Water Act (Section 1412(b)(7)(C)(v)). Full support from the EPA 
is essential to both the success of the program and to the 
safety of the drinking water provided to the residents of New 
York City. Even though EPA is a partner with the city and the 
State in signing a memorandum of agreement, and has recently 
reissued a filtration avoidance determination for the City of 
New York which is contingent on many of the projects funded by 
the program, the committee is concerned that EPA has failed, in 
recent years, to include funding for the program in its annual 
budget submission to Congress.
    The MOA includes a large community involvement component 
and formalized the innovative use of voluntary partnerships and 
locally based watershed protection programs. Some initiatives, 
such as the Watershed Agricultural Program, are designed to 
target specific communities or stakeholders such as the 
agricultural community to reduce pollution from farms within 
the watershed through rational incentive based agricultural 
practices. Another example of community involvement is the 
Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC), which was established 
when the Watershed Memorandum of Agreement was signed. The CWC 
is a non-profit organization directed by local government 
officials and created to implement a number of watershed 
protection programs.
    In May 2000, the EPA, in consultation with the New York 
State Department of Health and the City, conducted a formal 
mid-course review of the 1997 filtration avoidance 
determination and found that the City had made significant 
progress, but needed to work on long-term efforts. In November 
2002, EPA issued its New York City filtration avoidance 
determination for the Catskill/Delaware Water Supplies which 
established that the City has an adequate long-term watershed 
protection program.
    In support of this process, the Safe Drinking Water Act 
Amendments of 1996, authorized the Administrator to provide 
financial assistance to the State of New York for demonstration 
projects implemented as part of the watershed program for the 
protection and enhancement of the quality of source waters of 
the New York City water supply system, including projects that 
demonstrate, assess, or provide for comprehensive monitoring 
and surveillance and projects necessary to comply with the 
criteria for avoiding filtration. (42 U.S.C. 300j-2)

                     Objectives of the Legislation

    This legislation seeks to facilitate New York City's 
compliance with the requirements of its filtration avoidance 
determination by reauthorizing the New York City Watershed 
Protection Program at the existing authorized funding level of 
$15,000,000 for fiscal year 2004.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. New York City Watershed Protection Program
    This section amends Section 1443(d)(4) of the Safe Drinking 
Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300j-2(d)(4)) to reauthorize the New York 
City Watershed Protection Program at the existing authorized 
funding level of $15,000,000 for fiscal year 2004.
    In providing funds to the State of New York under this 
section, the Administrator is strongly encouraged to give 
priority to projects that demonstrate, assess, or provide for 
comprehensive monitoring, surveillance, and research with 
respect to the efficacy of various source water protection 
activities, or that establish watershed or basin-wide 
coordinating planning or governing organizations. Moreover the 
Administrator is expected to incorporate funding for the 
program into the agency's budget at a level commensurate with 
the agency's commitment to the program.

                          Legislative History

    Both S. 1425, sponsored by Senator Clinton, and the 
companion legislation, H.R. 2771, sponsored by Congressman 
Fossella, were both introduced on July 17, 2003. No hearings 
were held on S. 1425.

                             Rollcall Votes

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works met to 
consider S. 1425 on July 30, 2003. The committee favorably 
reported the bill by voice vote as amended.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In compliance of section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the committee finds that S. 1425 does not 
create any additional regulatory burdens, nor will it cause any 
adverse impact on the personal privacy of individuals.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that S. 1425 would 
impose no new Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on 
State, local, or tribal governments.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the 
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be 
included in the report. That statement follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, August 29, 2003.

Hon. James M. Inhofe, Chairman,
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1425, a bill to 
authorize the New York City Watershed Protection Program.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff is Susanne S. Mehlman, 
who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                        Douglas Holtz-Eakin
                              ----------                              

S. 1425, A bill to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to reauthorize the 
        New York City Watershed Protection Program, as ordered reported 
        by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, on 
        July 30, 2003
Summary
    S. 1425 would reauthorize the New York City Watershed 
Protection program for fiscal year 2004 and would authorize the 
appropriation of $15 million for the program in that year. 
Under current law, the program will expire at the end of fiscal 
year 2003. Under the bill, the Environmental Protection Agency 
EPA would provide the State of New York with grants to assist 
in protecting New York City's water sources.
    CBO estimates that implementing S. 1425 would cost a total 
of $15 million over the 2004-2008 period, assuming 
appropriation of the authorized amount in 2004. Enacting S. 
1425 would not affect direct spending or revenues. S. 1425 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would 
impose no costs on State, local, or tribal governments.
Estimated Cost to the Federal Government
    For this estimate, CBO assumes that the bill will be 
enacted in the fall of 2003. CBO estimates that implementing 
the bill would cost $15 million over the 2004-2008 period, 
assuming appropriation of the amount authorized for 2004. Those 
estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
the New York City Watershed Protection Program. The estimated 
budgetary impact of S. 1425 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).


                                     By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   2003    2004    2005    2006    2007    2008
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Spending Under Current Law for New York City Watershed
 Protection
    Budget Authority............................................       5       0       0       0       0       0
    Estimated Outlays...........................................       2       3       0       0       0       0

Proposed Changes
    Authorization Level.........................................       0      15       0       0       0       0
    Estimated Outlays...........................................       0       8       5       2       0       0

Spending Under S. 1425 for New York City Watershed Protection
    Authorization Level.........................................       5      15       0       0       0       0
    Estimated Outlays...........................................       2      11       5       2       0       0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
a. The 2004 level is the amount appropriated that year for the New York City Watershed Protection Program.

Intergovernmental and Private-Sector Impact
    S. 1425 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on State, 
local, or tribal governments. The State of New York would 
benefit from Federal assistance in protecting and enhancing the 
water supply system of New York City. Any costs to the State, 
including matching funds, would be conditions of aid.

Estimate Prepared By: Federal Costs: Susanne S. Mehlman; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Greg Waring; Impact on 
the Private Sector: Cecil McPherson.

Estimate Approved By: Peter H. Fontaine Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill 
as reported are shown as follows: Existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in [black brackets], new matter is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman:

               TITLE XIV OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT

SAFETY OF PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS (SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT)

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                              SHORT TITLE

    Sec. 1400. This title may be cited as the ``Safe Drinking 
Water Act''.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    Sec. 1443. (a)(1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (d) New York City Watershed Protection Program.--
            (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (4) Authorization.--There are authorized to be 
        appropriated to the Administrator to carry out this 
        subsection for each of fiscal years [1997 through 2003] 
        1997 through 2004, $15,000,000 for the purpose of 
        providing assistance to the State of New York to carry 
        out paragraph (1).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *