A bill that could allot $7.5 billion annually to improve the quality of America's waters was introduced into Congress on Dec. 16.

Introduced by the chairman of the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), the Clean Water Trust Act of 2005 would help control sewer overflows, enhance fisheries and wetlands, encourage research, spur new technologies, enhance investment in small and rural utilities, and protect waters such as the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and Gulf of Mexico. The bill also would create a dedicated, deficit-neutral Clean Water Trust Fund, similar to those used to finance highways and airports.

The legislation seeks to help underserved areas meet water needs, increase investment in critical water infrastructure, improve and protect wetlands, and encourage alternative approaches to solving water quality and financing problems.