Spring 2020 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions
Last week, EPA released the spring 2020 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. This list provides updates on all planned regulatory activities for the next 12 months. “EPA has mapped out our regulatory agenda through the first half of 2021 that will continue to reduce pollution and improve the health of all Americans, while bolstering the economy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. The Spring Agenda includes 40 deregulatory actions under development. In a related press release, EPA indicates they have “completed a total of 62 deregulatory actions, projected to save Americans an estimated $40 billion in costs.” In addition, the Spring Agenda contains 29 new actions expected to be issued over the next 12 months.
To access the spring 2020 regulatory agenda, please click here and select Environmental Protection Agency.
Example Office of Water action updates include:
- EPA/OW Regulatory Determinations for Contaminants including PFOA and PFOS 2040-AF93
- EPA/OW Peak Flows Management 2040-AF81
- EPA/OW ELG for the Steam Electric Power Generating Point Source Category–Reconsideration 2040-AF77
- EPA/OW Clean Water Act Methods Update Rule for the Analysis of Effluent 2040-AF84
- EPA/OW National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for Lead and Copper: Regulatory Revisions 2040-AF15
- EPA/OW Drinking Water: Final Action on Perchlorate 2040-AF28
- EPA/OW Use of Lead Free Pipes, Fittings, Fixtures, Solder and Flux for Drinking Water 2040-AF55
EPA Releases New Utility Finance Tool to Assess Financial Impact of COVID-19
EPA released the Water Utility COVID-19 Financial Impact Tool to help drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater (“water”) utilities assess the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its cashflow. We hope the tool helps in supporting the financial and operational health of water utilities, which plays an integral role in protecting human health and the environment for our nation. Note that use of the spreadsheet is voluntary and its results are provided for your information only. EPA is not collecting either the data entered by utilities nor the results. The tool can be found on EPA’s website by clicking here.
ECOS Seeks Assumption Amendments
ECOS has sent letters to Congress seeking technical amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA) that could make state assumption of the Section 404 program more appealing to states. One of the proposed amendments would allow partial assumption of the program similar to that permitted under other delegable programs. The other amendment would give delegated states parity with the federal government. Currently, states running the 404 program can issue permits for only five years, but the law does not place time limits on permits by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. ECOS and Florida DEP staff believe these amendments could be added to the S. 3591 America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, H.R. 2 INVEST in America Act, or other similar legislation.
House Passes $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Package
The House Committee on Appropriations approved a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package, the Moving Forward Act by a 233-188 vote on July 1, 2020. The bill would reauthorize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund at $8 billion a year over five years and allocates over $25 billion in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The legislation also invests $40 billion in new wastewater infrastructure to encourage efficiency and affordability, and helps communities address stormwater needs, preventing pollution in local rivers and unlocks more tax-exempt bond financing for water infrastructure projects by exempting bonds funding these projects from State allocation caps for Private Activity Bonds. The legislation will now go to the Senate for consideration.
USGS Integrated Water Science Basin Selections Initiate New Water Resource Assessments
The USGS has identified 36 major river basins—2 in each of 18 regions of the conterminous U.S.—as finalists for intensive study by new USGS Water Resources Mission Area programs. From the finalists, 10 will be selected to be an Integrated Water Science (IWS) Basin. The ranking process is described in a new article in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.
The 10 IWS Basins are planned for intensive monitoring by the Next Generation Water Observing Systems Program and are anticipated to be the focus of regional assessment and modeling by the Integrated Water Availability Assessments, Integrated Water Prediction, and other Water Resources Mission Area programs. The 36 basins selected were the highest ranked among 163 basins considered, based on a numerical ranking approach that considered three major criteria: natural hydrologic setting, anthropogenic stresses, and water-resource “importance.” The 36 basins represent the range in natural hydrologic settings of the conterminous U.S. and, within each region, are basins with high levels of water-resource stresses.
The next step in IWS Basin selection will be to obtain stakeholder input from within the USGS and from other Federal agencies, State and local environmental management agencies, and non-governmental organizations with interests in water resources. Final selection of IWS Basins will be made by Water Resources Mission Area management. The Delaware River basin was selected in 2018, prior to the initiation of the basin ranking process, as a pilot basin for study by the Next Generation Water Observing Systems and the Integrated Water Availability Assessments programs, becoming the first of the 10 planned IWS Basins. Based on the new ranking process and stakeholder input, the headwaters of the Colorado-Gunnison River was selected as the second IWS Basin in 2019.
ACWA 2020-2021 Board and Leadership Elections
ACWA is currently conducting its 2020-2021 Board and Leadership Elections. This year, along with the Executive Officers, the even Regions that are up for election. All ACWA members should have received a link to the ballot, and all “members in good standing” may participate in these elections. The “member in good standing” is the formal or main ACWA representative for the state/interstate agency that paid dues for the previous fiscal year (FY2020). If you are unsure whether your FY2020 dues are paid or if you did not receive the link to the ballot, please reach out to Julia Anastasio or Annette Ivey and we can let you know. Only one is allowed vote per state/interstate. Please cast your vote no later than July 29, 2020.
2020 National CAFO Roundtable – Virtual Meeting
This year, the 2020 National CAFO Roundtable will be held virtually in the afternoons of September 22 – September 24 from 12:30-5:00 PM Eastern Time. ACWA invites states and interstates to share this meeting information with other state agencies. A draft agenda and meeting registration link are available on ACWA’s website. This meeting is not open to the public, but there will be several non-regulatory guests invited to present. To ensure the meeting is as accessible as possible, there will be no registration fee. If you have any questions about this meeting visit the website or contact Sean Rolland directly.
Watershed Implementation Plan Coordinator – Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
DEP’s Chesapeake Bay’s Office has an immediate need for a Watershed Implementation Plan Coordinator. The employee performs a variety of work supporting implementation of DEP’s Chesapeake Bay program. Learn more about the opportunity here.