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Senate unit okays small city mandate aid.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (Quentin Burdick, D-N.D., Chrmn.) approved amendments to the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 late last week which would authorize $3 billion over the next six years to assist small communities in meeting federal environmental mandates.

The $500 million annual authorization would be available through the Army Corps of Engineers to distressed cities and towns for the construction of such environmental facilities as sewage treatment plants, sanitary landfills or treatment plants for drinking water.

Cities of 25,000 population or less with a median income that is 70 percent of the national median would be eligible for the 90 percent federal/10 percent local funding. Facilities would be constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

In supporting the amendment, which was sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine) argued that the federal government "can no longer impose unfunded mandates on state and local governments. While most environmental requirements have improved the quality of life in the nation." he continued, "there are no resources [at the local level] to meet standards they played no part in developing."

While supporting the amendment, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) cautioned that "size is not a determiner of need."

No comparable provision is included in the House bill.
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Author:Kocheisen, Carol
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:May 4, 1992
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