Senate EPW Holds Confirmation Hearing for Acting Administrator Wheeler
EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler had his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Climate change was the main focus of the hearing, with many democrats pressing Wheeler on his commitment to addressing climate change. Chairman Borasso and Ranking Member Carper agreed to delay the confirmation vote until next month to allow for ample time for questions for the record. Testimony and a recording of the hearing is available here.
Water Infrastructure Improvement Act Signed
This week President Trump signed the “Water Infrastructure Improvement Act” which codifies EPA’s “Integrated Planning” initiative into federal law. This law allows municipalities to prioritize water infrastructure projects to maximize environmental and health benefits, while working towards compliance with all aspects of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The law requires EPA/states to notify municipalities of the availability of an integrated plan that could be incorporated into a permit and would allow compliance schedules that exceed one permit term, if appropriate. The law also requires EPA to issue a report within 2 years that describes each integrated plan developed and implemented through permit, order, or consent decree going back to 2012. The law requires EPA to create an Office of the Municipal Ombudsman that will provide assistance to municipalities related to identifying: 1) federal financial assistance; 2) flexibilities under the CWA; and 3) opportunities to develop integrated plans. Finally, the law specifically requires EPA to promote the use of Green Infrastructure in its policies.
ACWA Releases WOTUS Summary Document and Comparison Chart
ACWA has updated it’s WOTUS resources page to include a new document summarizing the pre-publication proposed redefinition of Waters of the United States released by the Trump Administration and EPA on December 11, 2018. ACWA has also developed a chart comparing the new proposed definition, the 2015 Clean Water Rule, and the status quo from before then. If you have questions, contact Julian Gonzalez.
Scholarship Funding Available for Mid-Year Meeting
ACWA offers a limited number of scholarships for state travel support to ACWA state members who would not otherwise be able to able to send a representative to an ACWA meeting. Preference will be given to member organizations that have not been able to send a representative to a Mid-Year or Annual Meeting in several years and Members who are seeking assistance to bring another staff member to the meeting who would not otherwise be able to attend. The scholarships will cover meeting registration fee, airfare, local travel, hotel and associated taxes.
To apply for a scholarship, please contact Sean Rolland, Deputy Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 465-7179.
Just this week we have been hearing from states that the partial shutdown is impacting updates to the Integrated Compliance Information System National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES). EPA has been notified and is aware of the issue. As the partial government shutdown continues, we wanted to check in and see how the shutdown is currently impacting your ability to implement your programs or how you may be preparing for program impacts should the shutdown last longer than a month. Please send your shutdown impact stories to Julia Anastasio. ACWA’s staff will keep you all informed of the latest developments related to the government shutdown as we get them and please feel free to get in touch with any specific questions.
Save the Date! Nutrients Permitting Workshop – November 2019
The November 2019 Nutrients Permitting Workshop will be located in Alexandria, Virginia at the AlexRenew facility November 5-7, 2019. The workshop will focus on the relationship between water quality standards and nutrients permitting. Lodging is available at the Embassy Suites Alexandria Hotel. To reserve your lodging, call direct 703-684-7900 or 1-800-EMBASSY and ask for the Association of Clean Water Administrators group of rooms, or reserve online here.
ACWA Watersheds Committee Call
Thursday, January 24th
2:30 – 4:00 PM ET
Contact Julian Gonzalez for more information