Committee Approves Wheeler’s Appointment
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works voted to advance Wheeler’s Nomination to Administrator of the EPA on a 11-10 party line vote. His nomination now goes to the Senate floor. The Democrats are critical of Wheeler’s ties to the coal industry. Wheeler is expected to be confirmed. The vote has yet to be scheduled.
PFAS Management Plan Due Out Next Week
According to Acting Administrator Wheeler, the PFAS Management Plan is due out next week. The plan has been delayed due to the shutdown. The management plan is based off of the PFAS listening sessions that the EPA held last fall. It is unclear what is going to be in the report as there is no consensus on the amount of the compounds that are safe to consume.
USACE to Limit State Sec. 401 Permit Review Times
The USACE issued a memo to the agency, directing District Engineers to restrict the timeline for state review for 401 certification to 60 days. States may request additional time, but the decision is entirely at the discretion of the District Engineer, and extensions may not be granted if requests are “based on workload or resource issues or that [states] do not have enough information to proceed.” There are more questions raised by this memo than answers provided, and it certainly does not add any “clarity” to the process or any pragmatic improvements. This new approach will inevitably result in a vast increase in state denials of 401 certification requests.
It is current Corps practice to give states a full year to complete certification before the states will be deemed to have waived their authority due to inaction. Additionally, the memo asserts that the Corps policy will be that timelines for state review will commence upon “receipt” of a “request for certification” (without defining those terms). Currently, the Corps generally does not consider the timeline for state review to have begun until the District Engineer verifies “that the [state] has received a valid request for certification.” 33 C.F.R. 325.2(ii).
EPA and USACE Announce State Engagement Opportunities on New Waters of the U.S. Proposal
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers sent a letter to all governors offices announcing several opportunities for state engagement on the revised Waters of the U.S proposal. The agencies will be hosting a half-day discussion forum at the following locations: Kansas City, Kansas, on February 26, 2019; Atlanta, Georgia, on March 11, 2019; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 26, 2019. State officials who would like to attend any of these meetings should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the agencies will respond with meeting details and registration information. The state meetings will coincide with similar meetings with tribal representatives.
The agencies also have scheduled a public informational webcast on February 14, 2019, and a public hearing on the proposed rule in Kansas City, Kansas (coinciding with the tribal and state discussion forums) with sessions on February 27 and 28, 2019. State representatives are welcome and encouraged to attend these public events. In addition to these half-day discussions with state officials, the EPA and Army plan to seek additional opportunities to engage directly with states.
EPA Unveils New Water Quality Trading Guidance
This week, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, David Ross, announced a new policy memorandum that will help states, tribes, and stakeholders use market-, incentive-, and community-based programs to reduce excess nutrients and improve water quality in their communities. The memorandum adopts six broad “market-based principles” that EPA supports in future trading programs, without mentioning the regulatory or enforcement approaches that state and tribal authorities should use to implement them.
EPA plans to hold a webinar on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 1:00‐2:00 pm ET to discuss the memorandum and EPA’s efforts and take questions. To participate, email email@example.com.
Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace Announces Water Quality Trading Report Webinar
Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace will host a webinar on February 21, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET (10:00 am PT) on a recent report from the National Network on Water Quality Trading (“NNWQT”), Breaking Down Barriers: Priority Actions for Advancing Water Quality Trading (Through its participation in the NNWQT, ACWA assisted in the creation of the report). The report provides an investigation into what is keeping water quality trading on the sidelines and proposes a detailed action agenda to help get water quality trading implemented in more watersheds across the United States.
Hosted by report co-authors Willamette Partnership and Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, the webinar will provide a dive into the report’s findings while exploring the individual and collective actions needed to move forward with water quality trading and other market-based approaches to clean water.
To register for the webinar, go here.
NSmart Program Kick-Off Webinars Rescheduled
Save the date for EPA’s NutrientsSmart (“NSmart”) program kickoff webinars! The webinars were rescheduled for April 10, 2019, 1 – 2pm ET and April 11, 2019, 3 – 4pm ET. You can view the informational flyer here.
For some background, NSmart is a proposed voluntary program to recognize water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs), and their watershed partners, progress towards reducing nutrients in waterbodies. The EPA Office of Water and the NSmart Steering Committee are hosting an interest and information webinar to introduce a proposed voluntary recognition program for POTWs, WWRFs, communities, and other stakeholders and potential partners that have reduced or are working towards reducing nutrient loadings to streams, rivers, lakes, and other surface waters. As one of these stakeholders, we would like to provide you with background and answer your questions on the different ways to participate and be recognized as NSmart and gauge your interest in NSmart. We want to know how best to engage with you and make recognition valuable to you, your ratepayers, partners, and local communities.
More information will follow. Please send questions and comments to EPA’s Mary Reiley (Reiley.Mary@nullepa.gov).
Mid-Year Meeting 2019
Planning is underway for the upcoming 2019 ACWA Mid-Year Meeting. We are confident that we can put on a successful meeting in the (unlikely) event that the shutdown is continuing during our Mid-Year Meeting. The Mid-Year Meeting agenda is still under development and is subject to refinement.
Reserve Your Room Now! Guaranteed space and room rate ends February 22nd.
Early Bird Registration is now available and ends February 28th
This meeting is planned as a day and a half meeting. State attendees will lead discussions relevant to states priorities. Members are encouraged to attend. Go here to reserve your lodging accommodations. Guaranteed room rate ends February 22nd. Call direct 703-837-0440 or 1-800 HILTONS and ask for the ACWA – Mid-Year Meeting 2019 group rate. Meeting registration can be found here. Members and invited guest, if you encounter problems logging into Member 365, go here. View the draft agenda here.
ACWA is also offering travel scholarships to the 2019 Mid-Year Meeting. We have funding for 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. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please contact Sean Rolland.
2019 National NPDES Permit Writers Workshop
The State/EPA 2019 National NPDES Permit Writers Workshop will be held September 17-19, 2019 in Washington, DC. This meeting is intended to help support states and EPA to showcase permit writer innovations, assist with analysis of training, guidance, tools, and other support material needs, improve administrative efficiencies, clarify roles and responsibilities, build stronger linkages to WQS & TMDLs, modernize permit terms and data management, discuss program performance measures, and identify program areas where targeted technical assistance would be most beneficial. For more information, contact Sean Rolland or see our website.
ACWA Nutrients Permitting Workshop Registration is LIVE!
Registration for the November 2019 Nutrients Permitting Workshop located in Alexandria, Virginia at the AlexRenew facility November 5-7, 2019 is now live. To register, go here. 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.
IMPORTANT NOTE: We ask that members registering to meetings please use your state email addresses and login credentials provided. If someone is registering on your behalf that does not have an account in Member365 make sure that they have access to your login credentials so as not to create conflicting or overlapping information within the system.
Washington Department of Ecology
Washington Department of Ecology, has several current positions open, to view and apply go here.
Be sure to check out other opportunities on ACWA’s jobs page.
ACWA Legal Affairs Committee Quarterly Call
Wednesday, February 27 at 2:00 pm ET
For agenda and call-in information, contact Mark Patrick McGuire.