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Legislation & Policy Committee Meeting Summary November 19, 2020 Conference Call

  1. Call to Order—Kirsten Wallace, UMRBA; Chair called to order at 10:03 a.m. Central. 
  • Introductions of Participants on the call:  Kirsten Wallace, Chair; Sue Lowry; Richard Friesner; Brian Atkins; Steve Wolff; Cole Perryman; Stacey Mulholland; Sam Swartz; Drew Dehoff. 
  • Recap from Legislation and Policy Session Virtual Annual Meeting—October 13—Very positive feedback from the diverse speakers and great content presented.  Sue mentioned that Tim Petty had offered to set up a meeting with the Sub-cabinet members and ICWP. 
  • Transition issues/team discussion.  Committee discussed the topics that could be included in a letter to the transition Teams that have been named for each Cabinet agency.  Sue will draft a letter for the committee’s review by late this week.  The letter will be sent to the Board for approval after the committee provides input. 
  • Internship project ideas from this committee:  Topics included looking into how interstate organizations are funded.  If foundation or other grant funds are obtained, how do those organizations assure that their core mission is not impacted by these outside funds.  Intern could also look generally into what are other expanded financial options. 

A second topic would be to have an intern review the state constitutions for which ones contain indemnification clauses that would prohibit the state from signing current versions of the USACE’s PPA contracts. 

  • Water Management Executive Order
    • Message of Sub-Cabinet concept to Biden admin—include with letter discussed under item 4. 
  • Legislation to track: 
    • WRDA 2020 (AWIA in Senate)—Opportunities in lame duck for a combined version for the House to pass and then Senate may act upon the House bill as so few days for floor time in the Senate. 
    • USGS/DOI FY21 Appropriations -Richard mentioned that NEIWPCC had sent support letters for increasing the Cooperative Matching funds.  There are some other plus-ups in the Senate mark, but no adds to the CMF. 
    • Support for NOAA-NWS Atlas 14 Point Precipitation Frequency Estimates (Atlas 14) or other Extreme precipitation estimating tools—ICWP supports a direct funding approach for Atlas 14 updates and encourage that future updates include climate modeling. 
    • Resilient Communities Revolving Loan Fund Act—US Chamber still working with a coalition to see if the bill can be incorporated into other legislation that appears to be moving. 
  • Review Action Items for 2021 and develop working groups to accomplish
    • Potential relationship with Van Scoyoc—Sue will reach out to John Anderson and/or Geoff Bowman to gage their interest in working with ICWP.  If positive, Kirsten will invite TNC representatives for an initial meeting to discuss opportunities to improve PPA language. 
  • Next committee call set for January 14 at 2 p.m. Central.  The committee is also invited to join the next WD&S committee webinar on Dec. 1 to hear about recently passed America’s Conservation Enhancement Act.  All committee webinar planned for January 7, 2021 at 2 p.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
  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

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