Administrator Pruitt Testifies in front of the House Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee
Administrator Pruitt testified in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding the proposed EPA budget. All members of the subcommittee were present and there was significant bipartisan skepticism of the proposed budget levels. Ranking Member Betty McCollum (D- MN 4th) stated that she would not support a budget that fell below FY 17 funding levels. Additionally, Representative David Joyce (R- OH 14th) and Representative Marcy Kaptur (D- OH 9th) both expressed concern over the cuts to the Great Lakes. Representative Derek Kilmer (D- WA 6th) expressed similar concern about the Puget Sound funding levels.
Administrator Pruitt emphasized the need for the EPA to get back to the basics: focusing on the rule of law, streamlining processes, and encouraging cooperative federalism. Administrator Pruitt also stated that the new WOTUS rule would be finalized by the end of this year’s 4th quarter and no later than the end of next year’s 1st quarter.
The hearing can be watched in full here.
ECOS Releases Cooperative Federalism 2.0 Report
ECOS released a new report on cooperative federalism outlining a new vision recasting state and federal roles for environmental management and public health protection at lower cost. The Cooperative Federalism 2.0 report offers a set of recommendations on what cooperative federalism means to the states and describes the essential roles and functions that ECOS believes the states and EPA should each perform. The Report discusses the importance and urgency of re-calibrating the federal-state relationship, and highlights the critical roles the states perform in effectively and efficiently achieving our nation’s environmental and public health goals, and mandated responsibilities. Cooperative Federalism 2.0 means a change from business as usual and requires a willingness for U.S. EPA and the Congress to align the federal state relationship with the current realities and responsibilities of state implementation.
NRCS Grants for 33 Projects in 2017
In 2017, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (“NRCS”) will award over $22.6 million in national Conservation Innovation Grant (“CIG”) funding for 33 projects in conservation finance and pay-for-success models, water management and data analytics as well as for historically underserved communities. The competitive NRCS CIG program – which drives public and private sector innovation in resource conservation – helps develop the tools, technologies, and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges. Learn more about those projects through the story map, here. (Note: Map locations for projects are estimates only to protect producer and partner privacy.)
Dental Amalgam Rule Published
On Wednesday, June 14, the final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Dental Category (also known as the “Dental Amalgam Rule”) was published in the Federal Register. To view the Rule, go here.
Source Water Collaborative Releases New Resources
ACWA is a steering-committee member of the Source Water Collaborative (SWC), which helps plan and publicize collaborative initiatives such as the SWC Learning Exchange. The Learning Exchange was recently updated to provide resources on the link between source water protection and emergency planning. Some resources, which may be of interest to ACWA members, include: a recorded webinar on lessons learned from the November 2016 spill on the Potomac River and how to improve planning for emergency preparedness and response, a featured story on Pennsylvania’s early warning systems, and links to resources such as a methodology from the Water Research Foundation for locating and managing dynamic potential contaminant data, and U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Health-Based Screening Levels.
EPA Announces next Water Quality Modeling Webinar
EPA’s Water Modeling Workgroup is hosting a series of webinars to help water quality professionals better understand surface water quality modeling and how models can be used to solve common problems that face water quality regulators. This webinar, titled “Introduction to WASP”, is scheduled for Wednesday July 12th at 1pm Eastern. This webinar will introduce the Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP) water quality model. WASP is one of the most widely used water quality models in the United States and throughout the world. This watershed modeling application is intended to be used by citizens, conservation practitioners, municipal decision-makers, educators, students, and others. To register, click here.
Save the Date: 2017 National NPDES Program Managers Meeting
The 2017 National NPDES Program Managers Meeting will be held October 31, 2017 – November 2, 2017 in Silver Spring, Maryland. This meeting is intended to help states and EPA further identify challenges & barriers to implementation, highlight opportunities for permitting authority program improvement & enhancement, showcase innovations, assist with analysis of training, guidance, tools, and other support material needs, improve administrative efficiencies, clarify roles and responsibilities, promote program streamlining, build stronger linkages to WQS & TMDLs, modernize permit terms and data management, revise program performance measures, identifying program areas where targeted technical assistance would be most beneficial, and attempt to solve some of the most intractable NPDES Program issues. The target audience for this meeting is state and federal NPDES program staff at both the technical and management levels. If you are interested in helping to plan this meeting or presenting on a particular topic, please email Sean Rolland by Friday, June 23, 2017.
Save the Date: 2018 National Stormwater Roundtable
ACWA is excited to announce the dates for the 2018 National Stormwater Roundtable which will be held February 20, 2018 – February 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. As part of this effort, ACWA is seeking volunteers to join the Planning Committee and help us pull together an agenda for the meeting. This meeting helps support implementation of federal and state municipal, industrial, and construction stormwater programs nationwide by sharing best management practices, showcasing innovative state programs and initiatives, highlighting new technologies, facilitating discussion on national program enhancements and improvements, identifying state resource needs including tools, training and guidance, and proposing solutions to challenges and barriers faced by the regulators and other stakeholders. The National Stormwater Roundtable is specifically organized by state and federal regulators for EPA and state program staff representatives. Attendees include state managers, permit writers and inspectors involved in regulating stormwater; EPA Headquarters and Regional staff involved in stormwater regulation; and partnering state and federal agency staff that provide technical and/or regulatory assistance to the stormwater program. If you are interested in helping to plan this meeting or presenting on a particular topic, please send an email to Sean Rolland by Friday, July 7, 2017.