ECOS Announces New Executive Director
ECOS announced this week that Sambhav (Sam) Sankar has been named the new Executive Director and General Counsel. Sankar will take join ECOS on March 12th.
Sankar comes to ECOS from The Nature Conservancy, where he served as Senior Advisory for technology and innovation strategy. Previously, he served as Senior Executive Counsel and Director of Environment, Health and Safety Operations at General Electric, as a litigator with the US Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, as Deputy Chief Counsel of the Presidential Oil Spill Commission, and as Counsel at Wilmer Hale. He also spent time during his career clerking for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor at the US Supreme Court. Sankar began his career as an environmental engineer.
Stage II of Nutrient Sensor Challenge Now Open
The EPA with four federal partners launched the next stage of a technology-accelerating water quality challenge calling for demonstrated use of nutrient pollution sensors. The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge builds on the 2014 Nutrient Sensor Challenge, which helped facilitate the development of affordable, high-performing, continuous nutrient sensors and analyzers. Stage II of Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge is now open. Competing teams will deploy and collect data from two or more nutrient sensors for at least 3 months. Teams will also demonstrate how local communities can use the collected data to improve nutrient management decisions. Teams will be competing for a share of $100,000 in prizes. Participation in Stage I is not a requirement for participation in Stage II.
The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge is a collaboration between EPA, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-led U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS®). An informational webinar about Stage II of the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge will be held on March 15th at 2 PM (EDT). For more information on the webinar: https://www.epa.gov/research/nutrient-sensor-action-challenge-informational-webinar-0
The federal partners are raising awareness of the challenge on social media with the hashtag: #NutrientSensorAction
View the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge: http://www.challenge.gov/nutrient-sensor-action-challenge-stage-II
EPA Seeking Abstracts/Presenters for 2018 National Nonpoint Source Training Workshop in Colorado
EPA and NEIWPCC are hosting the 2018 National Nonpoint Source Training Workshop at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO from November 5-8, 2018. This workshop is a premier gathering of NPS professionals on the federal, tribal, territorial, and state level. The workshop will provide all attendees with an opportunity to share stories of challenges and successes, attend sessions covering a variety of NPS issues, receive updates on the national and regional level, and network with other NPS program managers and state NPS coordinators throughout the country.
EPA and NEIWPCC are seeking presentations from state, tribal, and EPA program staff, NPS practitioners, and the NPS community. To submit an abstract, please complete the online form here by April 6, 2018. Applicants will be notified of speaker selections in June 2018.
SCOTUS Denies Petition for Hearing Water Transfers Case
The Supreme Court denied petitions from opponents of the 2008 CWA rule exempting water transfers from NPDES permits earlier this week, without comment. In New York et al., v. EPA, environmentalists argued that the CWA requires permit protections for transfers which shift water from one protected water body to another, arguing that even healthy or pristine waters when moved to another water body would potentially change the hydrography significantly enough for the worse that such transfers should require NPDES permits.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit disagreed, upholding the rule exempting such transfers from NPDES permit requirements largely on the basis of deference to the rulemaking agency (EPA), a legal known as Chevron Deference. The Supreme Court potentially hearing an appeal to this decision was notable to many legal observers because the newest Supreme Court Justice, Judge Neil Gorsuch, has previously expressed concern with the Chevron Deference doctrine and also shown a tendency to err on the side of deregulatory action, yet in this case the environmental organization petitioners were the ones arguing for less deference to EPA, making the case an unique opportunity for Justice Gorsuch to further articulate his perspectives on agency deference.
Coal Ash Rule Update
On March 1, 2018 Administrator Pruitt signed the first of two rules intended to amend the coal combustion residuals (coal ash) rule. EPA has indicated these two proposals will save the utility sector up to $100 million per year in compliance costs. While the original 2015 coal ash rule continues to be litigated in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, this proposal provides several provisions that would allow permitting authorities to incorporate more traditional flexibility into their permit programs. The proposal would also allow alternative performance permit standards for coal ash disposal units. EPA plans to hold at least public hearing and will be providing a 45-day public comment period for this proposal, after publication in the Federal Register. EPA plans to propose additional changes to the CCR rule later this year. A copy of the prepublication rule can be found here.
2018 National Pretreatment Meeting
The 2018 National Pretreatment Meeting will be held April 17-18, 2018 in Silver Spring, Maryland at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center (“TDCC”), 10000 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20903. If you plan to attend the meeting, you must register. Please do so by Monday, April 2, 2018. To register for the meeting, go here.
Lodging is available on site at TDCC at rates of $209 for single room and $249 for a double room (plus tax). To reserve a room, please call 240-645-4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ask for the Association of Clean Water Administrators block of rooms when making your reservation. If you choose to stay at TDCC as part of the ACWA room block, complimentary breakfast and dinner are included with your room. The deadline for the room block is Monday, April 2, 2018. For more information on TDCC, go here.
For more information on the meeting, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop
Event and hotel registration for the workshop is live! The 2018 Nutrients Permitting Workshop will be held June 5-7, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio at the Riffe Government Center, 77 S. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. If you plan to attend the meeting, you must register. Please do so by Friday May 18, 2018. To register for the meeting, go here. The agenda is currently in development, however, the meeting will focus on technology, optimization, and related issues.
Lodging is available for the workshop at the Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square. Please ask for the Association of Clean Water Administrators block of rooms when making your reservation.
For more information on the meeting, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
2018 Emerging Contaminants Workshop
ACWA will be holding an emerging contaminants workshop in Washington, DC on June 20th and 21st. Topics will include identifying new emerging contaminants, risk communication, criteria development, preventing of emerging contaminants, and remediation. More information will be available shortly. Please contact Frances Bothfeld with any questions.
2018 National CAFO Roundtable
The 2018 National CAFO Roundtable will be held in Boise, Idaho. The meeting dates are Tuesday, September 25, 2018 to Thursday, September 27, 2018. ACWA is looking for a few volunteers to help us plan the agenda. Likewise, if you have specific topics you would like to present on or you would like to see discussed at the meeting this year, please send us your thoughts and we will share those with the Planning Committee. Finally, ACWA is pleased to be able to help support and organize this meeting because of a cooperative agreement from EPA. As part of that agreement, some state travel funds have been included. Requests for travel support should be submitted to Julian Gonzalez (email@example.com) by Friday, March 9, 2018. For more details on the meeting, please go to ACWA’s 2018 National CAFO Roundtable event page.