EPA Begins Process to Repeal & Replace WOTUS
This week EPA began their work to repeal and replace the WOTUS rule that was promulgated under the Obama Administration. EPA initiated federalism consultations with state and local governments to solicit perspectives on implementing the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The EO called on the EPA and Army Corps to “review the final Clean Water rule and publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the rule and directed the agencies to interpret the term ‘navigable waters’ in a manner ‘consistent with Justice Scalia’s’” opinion in Rapanos. Under the Scalia test CWA jurisdiction includes relatively permanent waters and wetlands with a continuous surface connect to relatively permanent waters.
EPA outlined a two step process to implement the WOTUS EO: (1) the agencies will issue a Federal Register notice repealing the Obama era rule and promulgating a rule that codifies the regulation that was in place prior to the issuance of the Obama rule and that is being implemented now under the 6th Circuit’s stay of the Obama rule; and (2) propose a new definition that would replace the approach taken by the Obama rule with one that reflects the principles outlined in the Scalia test.
EPA is taking comments on the proposed approach until June 19, 2017. ACWA will be developing comments on behalf of the association’s members . Individual states are also encouraged to submit their own comments to EPA. Written comments can be submitted to CWAwotus@epa.gov.
NRCS Webcast on NWQI Watershed Planning
On April 25th, NRCS is hosting a webcast with presentations on “Watershed Planning from a National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) Perspective”. Participants will learn about the watershed assessment used for NWQI and how it fits into an overall watershed planning process. Presenters will discuss the role of partnerships for watershed efforts and walk participants through the watershed assessment process sued in NWQI pilot projects, For more information on how to participate, click here.
EPA Webinar on Innovative State Water Agency Resilience Practices
On April 27th, EPA and presenters from several states will be hosting a webinar on how state agencies are developing innovative practices to build resilience into the water resource programs they administer. To register for the webinar, click here. The webinar builds on the growing EPA database of innovative state water agency practices, which is a joint initiative by EPA, ACWA, ASDWA, and ASWM. The database features fact sheets detailing Oregon, Maryland, and Massachusetts practices, and many other states as well, and can be accessed here.. Thank you to all of our members who contributed to these efforts!
Green Stormwater Infrastructure Report
A new report titled Working With the Market: Economic Instruments to Support Investment in Green Stormwater Infrastructure was released this week which summarizes how stormwater managers can spur cost-effective implementation of green stormwater infrastructure while tapping new sources to finance that investment. The report discusses the trend in increased spending for stormwater infrastructure and the associated impacts on water quality, hydrology, etc., and the need for future solutions to not only meet broad watershed goals but also perhaps provide multiple benefits to the local community at a reasonable cost. A copy of the report can be found here.
Save the Date
Mark your calendars – 2018 National Stormwater Roundtable, February 20 – 22, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. The National Stormwater Roundtable supports the implementation of federal and state municipal, industrial, and construction stormwater programs nationwide by showcasing innovative state programs and initiatives, highlighting new technologies, facilitating discussion on national program enhancements and improvements, identifying state resource needs, and proposing solutions to challenges and barriers faced by the regulators and other stakeholders. For more information please contact Sean Rolland.
Monitoring Standards and Assessment Committee Call Recap
The monthly MSA call occurred on 4/19. Staff from the EPA outlined the process for the mandatory 5-year review of tis recreational water quality criteria (RWQC). The ultimate goal of this review will be to inform the assessment of the need to revise the 2012 RWQC. The assessment will be based on the overall review findings, internal EPA evaluation of the science, input from the greater beach water quality community, and feedback from stakeholders. EPA will prepare a report summarizing the findings of the 2017 review of the 2012 RWQC at the end of CY2017. The report will inform subsequent consideration of whether or not any revisions to the 2012 RWQC are necessary and appropriate, based on the review’s findings.
ACWA Hiring Summer Intern
ACWA is seeking a summer 2017 intern. The intern would perform administrative and communications work as well as policy research. An interest in environmental policy, public health, and water quality issues is preferred. Candidates should be at least a junior or senior in college, and candidates in graduate programs will also be considered. The internship is paid. Click here to see the posting. Feel free to forward it to anyone who may be interested!