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Half the States Did Not Include Climate Adaptation or Related Resilience Efforts in Their Clean Water State Revolving Fund Intended Use Plans

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Why We Did This Report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General conducted this audit to determine to what extent (1) the EPA is providing guidance and reviewing states’ clean water state revolving fund intended use plans, or IUPs, to ensure that the plans, as they relate to climate change resiliency, meet the intent of the presidential policy directive to strengthen and maintain secure, functioning, and resilient critical infrastructure; and (2) the states, in their clean water state revolving fund planning, are considering climate change resiliency to safeguard federal investments, including funding provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 


Summary of Findings

The EPA prioritized climate adaptation and provided guidance to states during the development of their annual clean water state revolving fund intended use plans, or CWSRF IUPs. Despite these EPA actions, the EPA had limited success in getting states to include climate adaptation or related resilience efforts, such as those addressing natural disasters, in their IUPs. Just 13 states included this in their 2020 IUPs. After passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and after the federal government established its climate adaptation priority in 2021, the number increased to 25 states for the 2022 IUPs, an increase of 12 states over two years. In addition, only 13 states included climate adaptation or related resilience efforts as part of the project prioritization criteria documented in their 2022 IUPs. In federal fiscal year 2022, the EPA awarded $1.2 billion out of the available $3 billion CWSRF funds—which included annual and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act appropriations—to states that did not include resilience in their IUPs. Funded projects may become inoperable if the impacts of climate change are not considered.

Project Number: OA-FY23-0055

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