Coalition Names Drinking Water Number One Issue

By Shafroth, Frank | Nation's Cities Weekly, June 12, 1995 | Go to article overview

Coalition Names Drinking Water Number One Issue


Shafroth, Frank, Nation's Cities Weekly


"It is critical that we, as state and local leaders, speak with one voice at the national level," Ohio Governor and former NLC President George Voinovich told a special meeting of the State and Local Coalition in Baltimore last week.

The leaders of the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, NLC, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, and the International City/County Management Association subsequently agreed to make reform of the federal Drinking Water law the Coalition's number one priority.

The Coalition also agreed to support common positions on:

* implementing the new Kempthorne mandates law,

* reforming the federal Clean Water law to reduce current mandates,

* addressing changes in the costly Fair Labor Standards Act

* adopting a united position on key telecommunications preemption issues, and,

* working together to protect the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and transportation programs from deep Congressional budget cuts.

NLC President Carolyn Long Banks urged agreement on the drinking water priority. Noting that reducing the costs of existing federal mandates was a key priority of all state and local governments and the near success states and local governments achieved on drinking water last year; she said this is an issue where a unified commitment could make a difference.

Banks said that changes to incorporate a cost-benefit analysis and focus on contaminants that actually occur in drinking water could save cities and towns billions of dollars in capital and operating costs--critical savings at a time when every state and local government is trying to prepare for severe cuts in federal resources and rising state and local needs and responsibilities.

Voinovich, on his way to Washington to meet with the nation's Republican governors and the Congressional leadership, said greater unity among organizations representing state and local organizations increases the chance for being at the table with Congress and the White House: "As the federal government makes fundamental decisions reshaping federal, state and local responsibilities and resources, we need to be there; we need to be heard. …

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