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Iowa, Nebraska get millions in EPA water improvement funds

December 2, 2021 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa is getting $110.7 million and Nebraska $63.4 million from the federal government to upgrade water systems and improve water quality, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan informed states of $7.4 billion in new funding, saying the allocation for next year is the first of five years of payments totaling nearly $44 billion. The EPA funding comes through a $1 trillion infrastructure bill approved by Congress and signed into law last month by President Joe Biden.

Some of the funding would be focused on removing lead and PFAS compounds, widely known as “forever chemicals” linked to health problems including cancer, liver damage and decreased fertility.

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Regan said many vulnerable communities facing water challenges have not received their fair share of federal water infrastructure funding historically and the new law gives states an opportunity to correct the disparity.

A spokesman for Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican who often criticizes Democratic spending and rejected $95 million in federal money for coronavirus testing in schools last year, did not respond Thursday to a message about the EPA announcement.

A spokesman for Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts also didn’t respond to a message about the funding sent to the state.