WaterSense, Sustainability Part of Policy Modernization Act

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Congress will need to reconcile the Act with a similar bill that was recently passed. A reconciled bill would pass through the House and Senate before reaching President Obama.

June 06, 2016

A comprehensive bill passed by the U.S. Senate includes a provision authorizing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program and the Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability (NEWS) Act of 2015 (S. 1218). The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S. 2012), which also addresses the federal approval of liquefied natural gas exports, approvals for electric transmission lines, and licensing for hydropower projects, passed by a vote of 85 to 12.

Congress will need to reconcile the Act with a similar bill passed by the House of Representatives on Dec. 3, 2015. A reconciled bill, after being passed by the House and Senate, would then make its way to President Obama.

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and the High Performance Buildings Coalition (HPBC), which is chaired by IAPMO’s senior vice president of government relations Dain Hansen, lobbied hard for both the NEWS Act and WaterSense authorization.

The two priority provisions of the bill relating to water resources are Sec. 1023 and Sec. 4101. Sec. 1023 fortifies the EPA’s WaterSense program, which “identifies and promotes water-efficient products through voluntary labeling in an effort to reduce water use, reduce the strain on public water system infrastructure, conserve energy needed to pump, heat, transport, and treat water, and preserve water resources for future generations,” according to the IAPMO press release.

Meanwhile, Sec. 4101 establishes an Interagency Coordination Committee for the main purposes of recognizing energy-water nexus activities occurring throughout the federal government while also enhancing the coordination of research and development efforts across its agencies.

According to Hansen, the legislation marks the first time that the Senate and the House have passed WaterSense authorization programs in the same congressional session, which speaks to the importance of water conservation.

“It is clearly evident, even with the highly charged partisan environment, the one issue on which people are coming together is water. WaterSense and the NEWS Act mark a major victory for the industry and the country as a whole,” Hansen said in a press release.

IAPMO R&T—a plumbing and mechanical product certification agency—has been accredited by the American National Standards Institute since 2007 and is the leading provider of WaterSense product certification in the U.S. Since certifying the first high-efficiency toilet in April 2007, IAPMO R&T has certified thousands of water-efficient products to WaterSense specifications.

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