The Administrator may make a grant to a State for the development and implementation of a State program to ensure the coordinated and comprehensive protection of ground water resources within the State.
Not later than 1 year after August 6, 1996, and annually thereafter, the Administrator shall publish guidance that establishes procedures for application for State ground water protection program assistance and that identifies key elements of State ground water protection programs.
The Administrator shall award grants to States that submit an application that is approved by the Administrator. The Administrator shall determine the amount of a grant awarded pursuant to this paragraph on the basis of an assessment of the extent of ground water resources in the State and the likelihood that awarding the grant will result in sustained and reliable protection of ground water quality.
The Administrator may also award a grant pursuant to this subsection for innovative programs proposed by a State for the prevention of ground water contamination.
The Administrator shall, at a minimum, ensure that, for each fiscal year, not less than 1 percent of funds made available to the Administrator by appropriations to carry out this section are allocated to each State that submits an application that is approved by the Administrator pursuant to this section.
No grant awarded by the Administrator may be used for a project to remediate ground water contamination.
The amount of a grant awarded pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not exceed 50 percent of the eligible costs of carrying out the ground water protection program that is the subject of the grant (as determined by the Administrator) for the 1-year period beginning on the date that the grant is awarded. The State shall pay a State share to cover the costs of the ground water protection program from State funds in an amount that is not less than 50 percent of the cost of conducting the program.
Not later than 3 years after August 6, 1996, and every 3 years thereafter, the Administrator shall evaluate the State ground water protection programs that are the subject of grants awarded pursuant to this section and report to the Congress on the status of ground water quality in the United States and the effectiveness of State programs for ground water protection.
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $15,000,000 for each of fiscal years 1997 through 2003.