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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary — May 4th, 2023

Link to recording: https://youtu.be/8sZFEHIqRmQ


  • Call to Order – Kirsten Wallace, UMRBA; Chair
  • Introductions of participants on the call – Abby Ebach, Amy Shallcross, Beth Brown, Beth Callaway, Chace Tavelli, David Lind (Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies), Drew Dehoff, Geoff Bowman, John Anderson, Kirsten Wallace, Robby Short, Wade Loseman, Tom Littlepage, Christopher Estes.
  • Updates from Van Scoyoc Associates – Geoff Bowman, Van Scoyoc Associates

Geoff – Federal government $31.4T cap will be exceeded June 2023. The House passed a bill $4.3T cuts over next decade….more…. House wants to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to 2022 spending levels. The practical effect of this was to set the budget blueprint to start the FY2024 budgeting process. To do that, that will force the House to cut all federal programs by 20-25% – this includes water programs. Not a single House Democrat nor a single Senator will likely support this. Subcommittee markups start May 17-18, full markups May 23-25th, then the next batch June 7-8th, 13-15th. Senate appropriation schedule is a little more uncertain; over the last 10 years the Senate has only passed 18 of 120 regular order bills on time.

Where does WRDA 2024 fit into this process? – pay close attention to the debt limit (June 1-8?). When the House starts to release their appropriations bills will be the starting point. There will likely be some sticker shock in terms of cuts; but remember this will be the first step of what will be an elongated process. A continuing resolution will be needed when FY2023 ends on September 30th; everything else is uncertain.

Are there more susceptible programs to cut than others? EPA water programs tend to be popular so they may not be cut as much, but it’s hard to tell at this time.


  • WRDA 2022 comments and FY2024 SRF letter

See final copy of letters

Ask the board to forward to their networks; place in newsletter for May. Social media will be helpful.


  • NIDIS Reauthorization

This is an important area for ICWP to strategically support NIDIS in ways that states would like. Now is a good time for the NIDIS reauthorization subgroup to think about the top policy issues we want to convey. Beth will set up an L&P subgroup meeting to discuss strategy and next steps.

  • Set next meeting

Next meeting’s topic: June 6th – L&P co-hosting meeting with Planning committee for introduction to FEMA. June 22nd – next meeting to discuss USACE program policy issues (PPAs, permitting)

  1. PPAs – carryover from WRDA 2022 comments
    1. coalition support will help shape a resolution
  2. State permitting – USACE is saying they don’t need to apply for state permits unless mandated by federal law. Multiple state members of ICWP have encountered this issue. USACE headquarters seems to be driving this issue. ICWP would bring some states together to help communicate to USACE the problem and explore a potential solution.
  3. NIDIS subgroup report-out

Closing comments:

David Lind AFWA – indemnification requirements within WRDA have been the focus. Would like to get together a larger coalition group in DC to pursue changes. This is the #1 request from states for WRDA from AFWA’s perspective. With the debt ceiling House bill, there are some pretty egregious 401 certification gutting; 3 permitting bills on Senate that are concerning for water quality certification requirements. A series of nationwide permit bills have also been introduced. AFWA will be pulling together a list of state concerns for ICWP’s consideration.