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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary August 27, 2020 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Kirsten Wallace, UMRBA; Chair
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Kirsten Wallace, Sue Lowry, Brian Atkins, Matt Unruh, Richard Friesner, Kelly Pennington. 
  • Topics/Speakers for Legislation and Policy Session Virtual Annual Meeting—October 13—A few speakers for this session are not yet confirmed.  Kirsten will check with the USACE—Revolutionize CW and Sue will keep trying with DOI-Ass’t Sec. Office and with the congressional staff. ACWA will be invited to speak on the CWA 401 Rule implementation.   Matt will contact ASCE for a speaker on their infrastructure assessments. Richard suggested Manny Teadoro (Univ. Wisconsin) might be a good speaker in the future. Matt will also reach out to the CWCB on their Project Loan program. 
  • Review Principle Statements –Kirsten completed a draft on PPA and will make edits to conform with format from other committees.  She will also develop statements on ICWP’s USGS Streamgaging support and on USACE Panning Assistance to States.  These will be circulated to the committee. 
  • Legislation to track: 
    • WRDA 2020 (AWIA in Senate)–May not pass prior to election—now all about messaging of priorities—PPA language in Senate version—could ask Camille 
    • USGS/DOI FY21 Appropriations 
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14 Point Precipitation Frequency Estimates (Atlas 14) or other Extreme precipitation estimating tools—Maybe schedule a forum in 2021 with this and WD&S 
    • Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act
  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration—Recap from Board planning session:

Each committee to look at short and long (1 year; 5 year) goals for strategic planning for Board

PPA—ICWP Advocacy –NEIWPCC gave example of getting agreement in place took several years, seemingly way too long to get projects done.  Congressional testimony—getting a hearing in place and USACE Office of Counsel. Attorney from non-profit could provide help.  Reaching out to bigger coalition of groups impacted.  National Waterways Council-Amy Larsen has left and started own consulting firm.  Kirsten can reach out to new ED and to Amy. Ports and terminals would be more interested/impacted than the shippers themselves. Sen. Duckworth’s staff added the WRDA language about PPA agreements and she serves on EPW. 

Suggestion of Advocacy training workshop-perhaps a webinar series.  Could reach out to same entities that presented to NWRA. 

  • Set next call or webinar–  set for Thursday, November 19 at 10 a.m. Central

Legislation and Policy Committee:  Stay abreast of national legislation important to ICWP membership; Educate and advocate for state/interstate positions to Congress and federal agencies

2019 Accomplishments:

  • Submitted a letter on Dept. of Interior Re-organization
  • Sent letter to ASA Rd James regarding PAS funding for full range of authorized purposes
  • Submitted WRDA20 support letter to Senate EPW committee

2020 Accomplishments:

  • Submitted WRDA20 support letters to House T&I committee, Senate EPW and to House and Senate leadership 

Issues for 2020 Workplan

  1. WRDA2020 Topics
    1. USACE Partnership Agreements
      1. Liability Clause
      1. Indemnification
      1. PAS cost share to include in-kind for Tech Services
      1. Major rehab costs relative to annual OMRR&R
      1. Spreading large OMRR&R costs over several years
      1. Support for FIRO
      1. Support for WIFIA
  2. USGS Streamgaging support—getting letter to more audiences and reviewing stakeholder list for omissions 
    1. Opportunity for a states’ support letter
    1. Whether to expand to Water Use and other topics beyond Streamgaging
  3. Drought Planning/Preparedness-NIDIS Support (& the DEWS)
    1. Baseline funding for USDM
    1. Support for a new ag-centric product (better capture flash drought)
  4. Reauthorization topics for WUDR
  5. National Water Model—promoting water supply forecasting capabilities
  6. NOAA/DOI Improved Forecasting Action Plan
  7. NWS Atlas 14 Update—determine support message after WD&S discusses
  8. Legislation Following:
    1. Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act (HR3779)

2021 Action Plan Items

  1. Provide broader leadership on PPA Liability and Indemnification Barriers
    1. Pursue Congressional hearing on this issue
    1. Arrange for meeting with USACE Office of Counsel
  2. Develop Advocacy “How To” webinar series
  3. Facilitate a national conversation on Extreme Precipitation Products and Models
    1. Invite organizations to form coalition to work on issue
    1. Arrange Forum in 2021 to hear current state of Atlas 14 and other non-federal products that provide similar extreme precip estimates