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June 26, 2023

House committee advances bill that includes funding for Brunswick

Credit: Frederick News Post

A federal budget bill that includes $2 million for Brunswick’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants was approved Thursday by the House Committee on Appropriations.

After the committee advanced the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee’s Fiscal Year 2024 funding bill, it will then be taken up for consideration by the full House of Representatives.

U.S. Rep. David Trone, a Democrat from Maryland whose district includes Frederick County, had initially requested $7.5 million for the Brunswick plants.

Brunswick Mayor Nathan Brown said the plants have had several upgrades in the past, but there is still work to be done in fixing and upgrading them.

In December 2022, Brunswick received $15 million in federal funding. At the time, Brown said that the city had many upgrades planned to improve efficiencies at the plants.

“We’re still able to, you know, produce water and meet all of our our mandates and metrics, but we need to be able to continue to make improvements so that we don’t get in sort of dire situations,” Brown said Monday.

The water treatment plant cleans water from the Potomac River, which is where much of the city’s potable water comes from, but some of its technology is outdated and doesn’t work as well as it used to, Assistant City Administrator of Public Facilities Jeremy Mose told the News-Post last June.

The city will be unable to complete as much of the project unless additional funding is secured, according to Brown.

The mayor added that the city seeks various sources for funding to complete phases of the plan along the way since amounts requested aren’t guaranteed.

“We just continue to aggressively pursue different funding mechanisms,” Brown said.

On Friday, Trone released a statement “condemning Republicans’ funding cuts to rural communities and vulnerable Americans” in the bill.

“The Republican bill before the subcommittee today jeopardizes a basic, yet fundamental responsibility of government,” Trone stated in the release. “Without question, it endangers the lives of the more than two million Americans who lack access to running water, indoor plumbing, or wastewater services.”

Trone, who has been serving in the House since 2019, is running for the 2024 U.S. Senate seat for Maryland.

In addition to Brunswick’s plants, Trone noted similar struggles at the Boonsboro-Keedysville Regional Water System Reservoir in Washington County, citing that the town loses nearly 30 million gallons of water a year because of leaks.

Trone requested from the committee $5 million for the project and received zero, according to the press release.

In December 2022, Boonsboro received $5 million in federal funding to fix the leaks from the same bill that granted earlier funding to Brunswick’s water treatment plant.

The subcommittee’s chairman, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, who represents Tennessee’s 3rd district, could not be reached for comment Monday.

House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee said that the bill supports a strong national security and prioritizes energy security and economic competitiveness, according to a Thursday press release from the committee’s majority party.

The committee’s Democrats unanimously voted against the bill, finding that it increases energy costs for American families by cutting the Department of Energy’s clean energy programs and further creates disparity between domestic and defense spending as some domestic funding was shifted to defense programs.