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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary — Dec 1, 2022

Meeting Summary

Legislation and Policy Committee

December 1, 2022

1pmMT/ 2pmCT/ 3pmET

Link to recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1CZQ0KE5mU


1. Call to Order – Kirsten Wallace, UMRBA; Chair

2. Introductions of participants on the call – Kirsten Wallace, L&P Committee Chair, Beth Callaway, ICWP Executive Director. Callers Katherine Zitsch, Chris McCann DRBC , Abby Ebach, Geoff Bowman and John Anderson, Bennett Bearden, , Drew Dehoff, Kim Lutz, Chace Tavelli, Wade Loseman.

3, Midterm elections update from Van Scoyoc Associates

  • Dems secured control of the Senate 51 seats; Republicans 221-213 House, majority much slimmer than anticipated
    • Kevin McCarthy is Republican nominee for Speaker but unclear if will get confirming vote. Schumer is Senate majority leader.
    • House/Senate Approps leadership will be all female
    • House T&I Sam Graves will likely chair. Senate EPW unchanged
    • House NR flips seats, Senate ENR unchanged
  • Two items have to pass before Congress adjourns:
    • Ongoing Congressional Resolution at least through December 16th but hopefully another one will pass to extend through the 30th.
    • National Defense Authorization Act – WRDA 2022 has been incorporated into this as a Senate amendment. May see as early as tomorrow, hopefully get House vote before Christmas.
    • There will be some shuffling with committee assignments. Probably won’t see full roster until January.
  • Congressionally Directed Spending (earmarks)
    • Senate – will be allowed
    • House – the practice of “community project funding” (that’s the House term for earmarks) will likely return to the 118th Congress
    • Options for states are available
      • 10 bills each year are eligible for earmarks
      • BoR programs are not eligible for earmarks, USACE programs are eligible

4. 2023 Legislation & Policy Committee Work Plan – potential topics:

    • FY2024 Appropriations – Next steps: Beth is preparing ICWP’s 2023 Legislative Strategy budget priorities for the Board’s review; these will be circulated to the committee in time for our next committee meeting.
    • Congress:
      • NIDIS reauthorization – start in December
      • FY2024 agency budgets – start in January
      • WRDA 2022 – see through to the finish line
      • WRDA 2024 – start late summer 2023
        • Next steps: Once WRDA 2022 is enacted, this committee will help conduct a survey of states to get feedback on what to pursue for the next WRDA
    • Farm Bill 2023
      • Potential policy areas to focus:
        • USDA rural development – rural utility service
        • NRCS watershed programs – considerations for Water Quality component; advocate for interstate watershed planning and multibenefit conservation strategies in context to nutrient reduction
        • Next steps: Committee to survey states to explore if there are any fundamental reforms or tweaks to programs that are needed under the Farm Bill. Beth to speak with AWWA to see where they will be focusing efforts and Chace will prepare input on how NRCS programs are utilized in WY as examples.
    • Resiliency legislation
    • FY2024 Streamgage support – YES, get prepared Jan/Feb.
    • WUDR program – options for engagement
      • Next steps: The committee agreed to explore legislation to allow for revisions to the program eligibility and funding.
    • USACE – Next steps: This will be a topic of focus for a future meeting
      • PPA issues – have focused discussion for whether to keep on work plan and how to tackle. Geoff – are there specific nonfederal sponsors that are jammed by this? Then map to the members of congress. Or reach out to Freshman members of Congress – introduce a standalone bill?
      • Coordination with states on permitting responsibilities – start with ICWP as a forum to get a sense if there are issues nationwide, then addressing recommendations moving forward.
    • IIJA/IRA implementation

5.Set next meeting – Jan 5th @ 3pmCT

The following topics were determined to be the priorities for upcoming meetings:

  • January/February meetings – beging draft streamgage letter and discuss priorities; FY2024 budget priorities
  • March/April – USACE programs (PPA, permitting)
  • Summer – USGS WUDR