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Lawmakers Want Bigger Share Of EPA Grants For Sewage Outflows To N.H. Rivers

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New Hampshire’s federal lawmakers want a bigger cut of a new national grant program to address sewage discharges in local rivers.

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The new Environmental Protection Agency grants aim to help local governments prevent what are called Combined Sewer Overflows – systems that can put untreated stormwater and sewage directly into rivers at times of heavy precipitation.

It’s a problem in places like Lowell, Mass., and Manchester, which recently agreed to spend $231 million reducing its sewage overflows into the Merrimack River – a source of drinking water for cities downstream.

U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas joined other Democratic colleagues from Massachusetts in sending comments to the EPA on the new grant program.

They argue states like theirs should get a bigger share, since they've shown they need more infrastructure upgrades at a higher cost per person in their populations. Right now, the EPA's formula says bigger populations should be the ones to get larger grants.

The grant program has been authorized since the 1990s, according to the delegation, but received its first-ever funding of $28 million total in the last fiscal year.        

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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