Earmarks Have Returned to Congress - Here Are the Proposals
Updated: May 10
After a hiatus, Congress is bringing back earmarks in the House of Representatives - funding for capital projects in members' districts. This time around they're referred to as "Community Project Funding Requests."
In early May 2021, each House member submitted their ten funding requests to the House Appropriations Committee, who will grant funding to a subset of those requests. Luckily, many of the requests submitted by the Massachusetts delegation benefit rivers, water infrastructure, and climate resilience. Stay tuned to see if the Senate adopts the same process - if so, organizations or municipalities with project ideas should contact their Senators' offices to try and be added to that Senator's list of ten funding requests.
Thank you to the MA delegation and local advocates for including river and water issues in the funding requests. Here are a few highlights:
Representative Katherine Clark
Charles River Flood Model - $400,000. Charles River Watershed Association.
The funding would be used for improving the ability of the Charles River Flood Model to support stormwater management and completing designs on specific nature-based solutions that the Charles River Flooding Model demonstrates to be effective at managing stormwater and increasing climate resilience in numerous Charles River watershed communities. Developing riverine models to help address the impacts from increased rain events and runoff is a priority in the Massachusetts Integrated State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan.
Malden Lead Line Replacement Program - $3,360,000. City of Malden.
The funding would be used for accelerating the replacement of lead service lines delivering drinking water to Malden residents. In recent years, Malden has been identified as the community with the highest percentage of lead service lines in the Greater Boston Area. The City has undertaken an aggressive program to reduce the number of lead lines, but as of 2021 there are 2,076 lead lines remaining. This funding will allow the City to replace both the public and private sides of the lead service lines, removing a significant health hazard for low-income residents who cannot afford the cost of replacement themselves.
Mystic and Charles Regional Coastal Flood Interventions Project - $750,000. Town of Arlington.
The funding would be used for analysis, planning, and sequencing for a coordinated set of coastal resilience strategies and interventions that together will reduce the risk of coastal flooding to nine vulnerable communities in the Boston area: Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, and Revere.
Representative Lori Trahan
Merrimack River Hot Spot Detection and Green Infrastructure Solutions - $352,000. Merrimack River Watershed Council.
This project would contribute to providing clean water in four highly urbanized and contaminated segments of the Merrimack River for three environmental justice communities within the MA-3 Congressional District. This project will 1) conduct 1 year of bacteria and nutrient hot spot investigations, 2) complete four EPA watershed-based plans, including ArcGIS land use assessments, and 3) design appropriate green infrastructure to remediate relevant impairments of bacteria and nutrient pollution in the Merrimack and Spicket Rivers. Specifically, this project will conduct assessments and watershed-based plans for the MA84A-02 (Pawtucket Dam, Lowell to Duck Island, Lowell), MA84A-03 (Duck Island, Lowell to Essex Dam, Lawrence), MA84A-04 (Essex Dam, Lawrence to confluence with Creek Brook, Haverhill) segments of the Merrimack River, and the MA84A-10 (From the state line Salem, NH/Methuen, MA to confluence with Merrimack River, Lawrence) segment of the Spicket River. The MRWC will employ water quality monitoring, technical watershed modeling, and green stormwater infrastructure design. The project will be in line with the Green Infrastructure Project Reserve criteria of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
Representative Richard Neal
Main Street Sewage Main and Slope Stabilization - $740,000. The Town of Agawam.
The Main Street Sewage Main and Slope Stabilization project will have a significant impact on the environment, protect the Westfield and Connecticut Rivers and aid in upgrading the Town’s sewer and stormwater infrastructure. Relocation the sewer will ensure sanitary sewer does not discharge into the river, but flows to the nearby treatment plant.
See each member's full list of community funded projects: