EPA Releases Draft Strategic Plan
This week, EPA announced the availability of the Draft 2018-2022 Strategic Plan for public notice and comment. The Strategic Plan reflects the EPA Administrator’s priorities for advancing the Agency’s mission to protect human health and the environment by setting three strategic goals:
- Core Mission: Deliver real results to provide Americans with clean air, land, and water.
- Cooperative Federalism: Rebalance the power between Washington and the states to create tangible environmental results for the American people.
- Rule of Law and Process: Administer the law, as Congress intended, to refocus the Agency on its statutory obligations under the law.
The Draft Strategic Plan refocuses EPA on its role of supporting the states and tribes by streamlining programs and processes, reducing duplication of effort, and providing greater transparency and listening opportunities, enabling the Agency to focus on its core mission. The Agency’s priority goals include specific objectives related to state CWA implementation including: 1. Increase the percentage of water infrastructure projects funded through EPA grants, loans or public private partnerships that achieve or maintain compliance; 2. Increase the amount of non-EPA resources leveraged by projects receiving EPA infrastructure investments; and 3. Accelerate permitting-related decisions. The agency is accepting comments on the draft plan through October 31, 2017.
Administrator Pruitt Continues to Flesh Out His Team
This week, Administrator Pruitt announced the nomination of Cosmo Servidio to serve as the Region 3 Administrator with management responsibilities over EPA’s operations in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Servidio is currently the director of environmental affairs for the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority in Pennsylvania. He previously worked for the Pennsylvania DEP’s Southeast regional office and in the private sector. Servidio will start his position on October 16. Additionally, the Administrator nominated Doug Benevento of Colorado to become Regional Administrator for Region 8. Mr. Benevento will oversee environmental protection efforts in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana. Benevento has spent much of his career working to help protect the environment. As executive director for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, he managed the state’s environmental and public health programs. He previously served as the Department’s director of environmental programs, where he managed the state’s air, water, waste, and consumer protection programs. Since 2010, Mr. Benevento has been working on energy and environmental issues in the private sector at Xcel Energy.
Further, the White House nominated Andrew Wheeler for Deputy Administrator of EPA. Wheeler spent six years as the Republicans’ chief counsel and staff director on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and most recently worked for Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting.
Water Quality Trading Case Studies
This week, ACWA began posting water quality trading case studies on its website here. ACWA requested states and organizations with water quality trading programs at various levels of development submit summaries describing their programs/efforts answering questions such as, what are/were the drivers for starting a water quality trading program, what was the process to get the program created and running, who are/were the players in the process, what is the public reception of your program, what do you hope to achieve with the program, and what challenges did you face in development and implementation of your program.
ACWA will continue to post the case studies at the link above as we receive them. If you would like to contribute, please reach out to Mark Patrick McGuire.
Four EPA Nominees Testify in Front of Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
This week, the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works held a nomination hearing for four EPA nominees: Dr. Michael Dourson, Matthew Leopold, David Ross, and William Wehrum. The four were nominated for director of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, General Counsel, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, and Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, respectively. The majority of questioning focused on Dr. Dourson and William Wehrum as they are considered controversial nominations by the Democrats. David Ross reaffirmed his support for cooperative federalism and his interest in “getting out of the Beltway” to listen to states’ needs. Senators submitted additional questions for the record, to be answered by October 12th. A confirmation vote will occur after that date. To listen to the entire hearing, refer to the committee’s website.
NAWQA Releases Map on Private Well Water Use
NAWQA released a new USGS map that shows the number of people potentially using domestic wells across the country. They hope the new map will help state and local officials to optimize water quality testing for groundwater. Additionally, this tool can be used in conjunction with other data to focus water quality efforts on areas with potentially higher lead concentrations and in areas with a high density of private wells and a high likelihood of potentially corrosive groundwater. More information on this map is available here.
ACWA, ECOS, and ASWM Send House Leadership Letter Opposing H.R. 3043, Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017
ACWA signed on to a letter with the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) and the Association of State Wetlands Managers (ASWM) in opposition to the H.R. 3043, the Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017. If enacted as written, the draft bill would modify Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing requirements under the Federal Power Act and may conflict with state authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to protect water quality and provide critical input on federal dredge and fill permits to wetlands and other waters under § 404. The letter is available here.
ACWA Participates in Panel on TMDLs at WEFTEC
ACWA Environmental Program Manager Julian Gonzalez participated on a panel entitled “How Well is the TMDL Program Working?” along with Tom Wall of EPA and representatives from other sectors including municipalities, the American Farm Bureau, and Sierra Club. The well-attended panel discussed different perspectives on the current state of the TMDL program, how it could be improved, where the program is headed, reasons for success and common obstacles, as well as the importance of communication and local buy-in. For more information contact Julian Gonzalez.
U.S. EPA ECHO CWA Biosolids Facility Search Webinar
EPA is hosting a webinar on October 10 from 1:30- 2:30 p.m. Eastern to demonstrate the new ECHO Facility Search under the Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Program Area Biosolids. This new feature, available to both government and public users, integrates Biosolids Annual Report data with other biosolids enforcement and compliance data. It provides access to biosolids-specific permit, inspection, violation, enforcement, and penalty data to users for the first time in an easy-to-use search tool. Registration is available here.
2017 NPDES Program Managers Meeting Updates
An updated version of the meeting agenda can be found here. The cut-off date for the guaranteed hotel room rate and availability ends Friday, October 6, 2017. Accommodations run $209.00 per night plus tax. This facility has a 48 hour cancellation policy. To secure a hotel room you must call TDCC at 240-645-4000. We are also asking all meeting participants to register with ACWA for the meeting no later than Friday, October 13, 2017. If you are a state participant and have already been issued Member365 credentials (ACWA’s New Member Portal), you just need to log in and select this meeting from the event list. If you are with EPA and/or have not been issued login credentials, please use this link.
Registration is LIVE for the ACWA Nutrients Permitting Workshop in December
ACWA’s Nutrients Permitting Workshop will take place December 5-7, 2017 in Boise, Idaho at the Riverside Hotel. To register, go here. For room reservations, contact the Riverside Hotel at 1-888-606-0563 or 1-208-343-1871 and ask for the Nutrient Permitting Meeting group rate. To view a draft agenda, go here. For more information, please contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
ACWA Legal Affairs Committee Quarterly Call
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 2:00 – 3:00 pm Eastern
For call-in and agenda information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.
ACWA 319/Nonpoint Source Workgroup Call
Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 2:30 — 4:00 pm Eastern
For call-in and agenda information, contact Julian Gonzalez.