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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary June 18, 2020 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Kirsten Wallace, UMRBA; Chair
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Amy Shallcross, Chair; Sue Lowry, Brian Atkins, Gail Melgren, Sam Swartz, Julie Cunningham, Katherine Zitsch, Kirsten Wallace. 
  • WRDA 2020 (AWIA in Senate)
    • Letters delivered to House and Senate on 5/29—PPA, PSA; Dredging materials.  Sen. Barrasso wants to see an infrastructure package and would include AWIA in that larger bill. Discussion on how infrastructure might fit with a recovery bill and Julie will check with Inhofe’s office, as his staff has been contacting the OWRB for input. 
  • All committees invited to Water Planning committee on July 13—FEMA Drought pre-disaster planning programs 
  • From 2020 workplan, identify 1-3 Principle Statements topics-The topics in order of priority.  Kirsten will draft a couple for committee review; goal of having 2-3 Statements to Board by mid-August:
    • PPA (WRDA)
    • USGS Streamgaging Support
    • Federal Interior Budget development (Sue will check with her contacts on Sub-committee staff to see how they prefer input now). 
    • PAS
    • Interstate water issues related to legislation/policy
    • Drought support
      • NIDIS Reauthorization
      • Baseline finding for Drought Monitor
    • Atlas 14—Maximum Precipitation research
  • USGS
    • Support for 3DEP & NHD products in 2021—don’t need to keep on agenda until January and then will discuss language to add to 3DEP letter
    • Coordinate delivery of coalition support letters (including Streamgaging)—challenges of Congressional staff also working from home and juggling commitments.  Working with congress now is difficult due to staff working from home and different approaches by different staff/offices. Discussion on likely no travel for face to face meeting through rest of 2020.  
  • Legislation to track:
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14 Point Precipitation Frequency Estimates (Atlas 14) –topic of next WD&S committee-July 1
    • Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act
      • No action since last committee call
  • Other items for the Committee’s consideration
    • Recent EPA rule on CWA Section 401—announcement of this rule’s release was sent to the committee along with the agenda for this meeting.  Several states are expected to appeal the rule.
    • Kirsten also mentioned the June 4, 2020 Presidential Executive Order titled “Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities,” allowing—and, in fact, directing—federal agencies to circumvent environmental permitting requirements in order to expedite infrastructure projects.  ICWP may want to track for its impact on infrastructure funding/construction. 
    • L & P webinar for virtual Annual Meeting in October—could get higher level speakers since virtual.  Committee agreed that good theme for committee session would be “Working with Congress during COVID”.  Someone with experience on Presidential transition teams was also suggested as a good speaker for our October sessions. Julie and Brian both had staff participate in the recent ASFPM conference that was held remotely and they will see if the staff have suggestions for improving the virtual format. Katherine sent to Sue the registration information that the Georgia Water Users group is using where registration is available by session. 
  • Set next call or webinar—Next committee call on July 16 (Thursday) 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 letter to House T&I committee

Issues for 2020 Workplan

  1. WRDA2020 Topics
    1. USACE Partnership Agreements
      1. Liability Clause
      1. Indemnification
    1. Other items for WRDA2020
      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. Items from NDRP’s Action Plan that ICWP supports
    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
  8. Legislation Following:
    1. Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act (HR3779)
    1. Rep. Huffman FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act