Member Pipeline - Clean Water Current - April 13, 2007
April 13, 2007
NACWA Green Infrastructure Efforts Lead to EPA Earth Day Event
EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson will highlight NACWA’s recent efforts to promote green infrastructure as part of EPA’s commemoration of Earth Day on April 19 in Pittsburgh, Penn. In addition, Ben Grumbles, EPA assistant administrator for water, and representatives from NACWA, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Low Impact Development (LID) Center will participate in the event at the David Lawrence Center, the world’s first certified green convention center. Administrator Johnson will highlight the potential of green infrastructure to improve water quality by reducing runoff from stormwater and combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and will acknowledge the leadership of NACWA and NRDC in crafting the recent Statement of Support for Green Infrastructure signed by more than 25 stakeholder groups. Johnson will then join representatives from NACWA and the other groups in signing a document affirming their commitment to green infrastructure and outlining ways for EPA and the signatory agencies to work together to promote the use of green infrastructure. NACWA will be represented at the event by its president, Dick Champion, director of the Independence (Mo.) Water Pollution Control Department, and staff.
NACWA will also participate in an April 16 EPA meeting to discuss ways to promote green infrastructure. The more than 25 signatory organizations to the Statement of Support have been invited to attend the meeting, which was organized in response to the Statement. NACWA worked with EPA on the agenda, and Johnson is expected to attend briefly. NACWA will report on any developments from the meeting next week.
NACWA Continues Dialogue on Farm Bill Negotiations
NACWA continued its work this week to push for provisions in the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization that will benefit water quality. An April 9 meeting with other water sector organizations, including the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), the California Association of the Sanitation Agencies (CASA), and the American Water Works Association (AWWA), featured presentations from the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on their priorities for the Farm Bill. NACWA has been working closely with TRCP to push for stronger conservation measures in the existing Farm Bill and increasing the funding for those programs that will have the most impact on water quality.
The Conservation Security Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) are getting much of the attention of these efforts, although preferences for the individual programs vary by organization. NACWA strongly supports the concept of “cooperative conservation partnerships,” which provide the means to direct funding to municipalities for projects with farmers that will directly benefit water quality.
Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) have introduced separate Farm Bill reauthorization proposals that contain provisions for these types of partnerships with subtle differences. Kind’s bill (H.R. 1551), which would provide $3 billion more per year for conservation programs, targets funding for cooperative partnership projects that improve water quality. Cardoza’s legislation (H.R. 1600) does not target water quality but does double the funding for EQIP from the current $1 billion annually..
The Bush administration released a January 2007 Farm Bill proposal that seeks increased conservation funding of $7.8 billion over 10 years, which USDA officials described as “an important signal for conservation and the environment.” The Bush proposal, which has not yet been translated into legislative language, also introduces a new program call the Regional Water Enhancement Program (RWEP), which has seen significant attention from the water sector and would provide $175 million annually within EQIP for cooperative conservation programs. A hallmark of RWEP is that it goes a step further than existing programs by
specifically promoting watershed-based projects while also insisting on a measure of accountability by requiring the project to demonstrate they are meeting performance objectives in order to qualify for further funding. Partners in these projects could include producers, municipalities, and non-governmental oragnzations. NACWA has an upcoming meeting scheduled with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to discuss RWEP and conservation partnerships further. The Association will track these proposals and work to ensure that the new Farm Bill contains provisions that benefit municipalities in their efforts to guarantee clean water for all citizens.
EPA Holds Experts Workshop on Recreational Water Quality Criteria
More than 40 scientists, academics, regulators, and others met at a March 26-30 EPA workshop to begin the process of developing new, scientifically-based recreational water quality criteria that protect human health. The main topics discussed at the workshop, which was not open to the public, were pathogen and fecal contamination indicators, implementation approaches for the new criteria, and assessment of human health risks. EPA will use the information to develop the criteria, which are required by the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000 (BEACH Act). EPA missed the BEACH Act deadlines for issuing criteria and was sued by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). NACWA intervened in the case, Natural Resources Defense Council v. EPA (http://www.nacwa.org/private/littrack/#nrdcepa) and will be involved in setting new deadlines that will allow the Agency to develop reasonable criteria.
Charles McGee, of Orange County Sanitation District, a NACWA member agency, was the only representative of the municipal clean water community participating in the workshop. A list of all workshop participants is available on NACWA’s website (http://www.nacwa.org/getfile.cfm?fn=Participant_List_Expert_Workshop.pdf).
NACWA members can contact Chris Hornback at (202) 833-9106 or email@example.com for more information. NACWA will keep members informed about the progress in developing recreational water quality criteria.
Still Time to Register for NACWA/WEF Clean Water Policy Forum!
Just three weeks remain until the 2007 National Clean Water Policy Forum, to be held May 6-9 and sponsored by NACWA and the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and those interested in attending should register soon. Today is the deadline for securing room reservations at the Renaissance Washington Hotel at the conference rate of $269, and the hotel is nearing capacity, especially for the night of Tuesday, May 8. NACWA will help find alternative arrangements for those who cannot get into the Renaissance Washington.
Contact Nirah Forman at (202) 833-8418 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to cancelling your reservation with any reservation questions or needs. Updated agenda as well as hotel and registration information is available on NACWA’s homepage (www.nacwa.org) by clicking on the Register Now icon.
NACWA Executive Director Discusses Clean Water in Two Chicago Cable Interviews
NACWA Executive Director Ken Kirk was interviewed on a variety of Clean Water Act issues for the Chicago Action Network television station. Frank Avila, commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, conducted the two 30 minute interviews, one titled The Clean Water Funding Crisis and the other titled The Future of Clean Water. The issues discussed range from the origin of the Clean Water Act to the specific activities NACWA is taking to ensure that federal policy is developed that will allow for water quality progress. The Clean Water Funding Crisis video can be viewed online at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6427957422587707278&q=Commissioner+Frank+Avila+Speaks&pr=goog-sl. The Future of Clean Water video is at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1204659231679065175&q=Commissioner+Frank+Avila+Speaks&pr=goog-sl.