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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary –September 1, 2021 Webinar–Overview from Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities (CIFA)–Deirdre Finn

Recorded meeting available on YouTube:  https://youtu.be/MjYFkjGhFe4

  1. Call to Order—Kirsten Wallace, UMRBA; Chair—called to order at 10:02 a.m. Central.
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Kirsten Wallace, Chair; Sue Lowry; Jeff Cowley; Shawn Jackson; Jesse Bradley; Richard Friesner; John Anderson; Geoff Bowman; Stacey Mulholland; Mike Nardolilli; Brian Atkins; Randy Hadland; Drew Dehoff; Julie Cunningham; Heidi Moltz; Kevin Pregent; Ryan Benefield; Matt Unruh; Deidre Finn; Katherine Zitsch; Bennett Bearden. 
  • Updates from Van Scoyoc Associates to committee members—Geoff updated the committee on budget, infrastructure, debt ceiling, and WRDA 2022.  Specifics and details on dollar amounts can be seen by viewing the presentation at the above YouTube link.  The hared infrastructure and social infrastructure bill language was discussed as well as the politics of how these two bills might move through congress.  Geoff went through the increased funds that could be available from the infrastructure packages to EPA and BOR.  The FY2022 budget timeline was discussed along with the probability of continuing resolutions at the end of the federal fiscal year.
  • Overview from Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities (CIFA)—Deirdre Finn, Executive Director.  Deirdre gave a very informative presentation on the work of CIFA as well as many budget details to the State Revolving Funds and other EPA programs. She focused on American Rescue Plan Act, the FY2022 budget process and the infrastructure packages currently before Congress.   Each state’s water infrastructure agency’s contact info can be found on the CIFA website.  Specifics and details on dollar amounts can be seen by viewing the presentation at the above YouTube link.  
  • WRDA 2022-
    • Summary of kick-off Hearing by EPW on 7/28/21 was provided to the committee.  Richard mentioned that tracking the member adds would be good.  Regional benefits as well as beneficial use of dredged materials were mentioned specifically. 
    • start to develop topics for member’s requests—Poll membership—Sue will work with Julie and Kirsten in the best approach to find out member’s priorities. 
  • Legislation to track: 
    • 2021 Infrastructure Packages—water related opportunities
    • USGS/DOI FY21 Appropriations –House Mark generous to Water Mission Area
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14 Precipitation Frequency Estimates (Atlas 14) or other Extreme precipitation estimating tools—PRECIP and FLOODS legislation 
  • Fall ICWP Annual Meeting topics—October 12-14, 2021—Philadelphia
    • Two draft Principle Statements have been circulated for review prior to the Membership meeting.  If any L & P members have comments on either of these statements, please get those to Sue in the next couple of weeks. 
  •  Set next call or webinar –Set for November 3. 


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 2021 Workplan

  1. WRDA2022 Preparation Topics
  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 –Support for PRECIP legislation
  8. Legislation Following:

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. Discussion of lessons learned at NGWOS basins are added
  4. Facilitate a national conversation on Extreme Precipitation Products and Models
    1. Invite organizations to form coalition to work on issue

Arrange Forum in 2021 to hear current state of Atlas 14 and other non-federal products that provide similar extreme precip estimates