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Legislative Affairs Archive

2011

President Releases Detailed Budget Reduction Recommendations; Plan Promotes Higher EPA Program Fees and Infrastructure Spending (Updated Sep 23, 2011) 

President Obama released on September 19 budget reduction recommendations for Congress’ Joint Select Committee that includes boosting fees that EPA collects through various program and more details about the establishment of a national infrastructure bank and other non-water related infrastructure spending proposals.  Read more >> 

Senate EPW Committee Approves San Francisco Bay Restoration Act (Updated Sep 23, 2011) 

The San Francisco Bay Restoration Act (S.97) was approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on September 21. Read more >> 

Clean Beaches Bill Introduced in Senate (Updated Sep 23, 2011) 

The Clean Coastal Environment and Public Health Act of 2011 (no bill number assigned) was introduced on September 20 that would require new beach water quality testing and public notification standards regarding beach safety. Read more >> 

OMB Memo to Federal Agencies Calls for 2013 Budget to be 5 Percent Below 2011 (Updated August 19, 2011)

In a memo released by the White House, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed agency and department heads to identify ways to trim 5 percent from FY2011 budget levels for FY2013.  Read more >>  

OMB to Review EPA Rule on Chemical Testing in Water (Updated August 19, 2011)

The Office of Management and Budget is currently reviewing a rule submitted on August 8 by EPA that is intended to clarify that “sufficiently sensitive” test methods are applied when monitoring chemicals in water. Read more >> 

EPA FY 2012 Spending Bill Debate Expected to Resume After Labor Day  (Updated August 5, 2011)

Due to the continuing debate over the debt ceiling, it is unlikely that the EPA FY 2012 funding bill (H.R. 2584) and its numerous environmental riders will be taken up until after the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environmental and Related Agencies returns from its August recess after Labor Day.  Read more >>  

House Debates Riders in EPA’s FY 2012 Appropriation; Votes Down All Environmental Riders (Updated July 29, 2011)

While public attention is focused on the debt ceiling debate, Congress is also working on the FY 2012 appropriation process. The House floor debate started this week on H.R. 2584, the FY 2012 Appropriations Act for Interior, EPA [and related agencies].  Read more >> 

House Appropriations Committee Approves USGS FY 2012 Funding Bill (Updated July 29, 2011)

The House Appropriations Committee on July 12 approved, by a vote of 28-18, the FY 2012 Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill.  Read more >> 

Senate Environment Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for EPA Water Office Nominee (Updated July 22, 2011)

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on July 19 held a confirmation hearing for Ken Kopocis, President Obama's nominee as EPA Assistant Administrator for Water.  Read more >> 

House Approves Legislation to Weaken EPA CWA Authority (Updated July 15, 2011)

The House of Representatives on July 13 approved the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 (H.R.2018) to limit EPA’s ability to overrule state water quality regulatory programs for Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 dredge and fill permitting activities.  Read more >> 

House Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2012 Spending Bill; Reducing EPA Budget 18 Percent (Updated July 8, 2011)

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies on July 7 approved a $27.5 billion fiscal year 2012 spending bill, including $7.1 billion for EPA.  Read more >> 

Senators Express Concerns with EPA Proposed Clean Water Guidance (Updated July 8, 2011)

A June 30 letter sent to EPA and U.S. Corps of Engineers by dozens of Republican senators are urging the agencies to abandon its May 2, 2011 draft guidance that identifies waters protected by the Clean Water Act (CWA). Read more >> 

House Legislation Would Limit EPA Authority to Revise State WQS, Block Certain CWA Permits (Updated June 24, 2011)

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on June 22 approved the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 (H.R. 2018) which would limit EPA authority to overrule state-approved water quality standards.  Read more >> 

Legislation Approved to Prevent EPA CWA Permitting of Certain Pesticide Applications (Updated June 24, 2011)

On June 21, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry approved H.R. 872, a bill that would prevent EPA from implementing a court order requiring certain pesticide applications to be covered by Clean Water Act (CWA) discharge permits.  Read more >> 

House Homeland Security Committee Approves Extension of Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Security Act (Updated June 24, 2011)

On June 22, the House Homeland Security Committee approved the Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Security (CFATS) Authorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 901) that would extend the Department of Homeland Security's chemical facility antiterrorism standards through fiscal year 2018.  Read more >> 

House T&I Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Numeric Nutrient Criteria  (Updated June 17, 2011)

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment plans to hold a hearing on June 24 focusing on numeric nutrient criteria. Read more >> 

USDA FY2012 Spending Bill Seeks Cuts in Conservation, Energy Programs (Updated June 3, 2011)

A May 31 funding bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee would require mandatory and discretionary spending cuts for FY 2012 on soil and water conservation programs, as well as rural energy.  Read more >> 

Senate Republicans Seek CWA Jurisdiction Clarification of EPA Guidance (Updated June 3, 2011)

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and 19 other Republican senators sent a May 17 letter telling EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that proposed guidance on hydrological connections to waters of the U.S. underClean Water Act jurisdiction would infringe on state authority and increase delays in securing permits, which could hinder economic activity in many states.  Read more >> 

EPA Testifies Before House Science Committee on Hydraulic Fracturing Impacts in Drinking Water (Updated May 13, 2011)

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee on May 11 questioned Paul Anastas, administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development whether a proposed study by the Agency to determine if the oil-drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing contaminates drinking water is necessary based on no confirmed incidents of such contamination.  Read more >> 

Markup of Bill Extending Chemical Facility Security Program Postponed (Updated May 13, 2011)

The House Energy and Commerce Committee postponed a May 11 markup of legislation (H.R. 908) - Full Implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act - that would extend through fiscal year 2017.  Read more >> 

GAO Reports Preliminary Observations on the Use of Funds for Clean and Drinking Water Projects under Recovery Act (Updated May 6, 2011)

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on May 4 released a preliminary report on the Use of Funds for Clean and Drinking Water Projects under Recovery Act. (Pub. L. No. 111-5). Read more >> 

House Subcommittee Hears Testimony on Impacts of EPA Coal Mining Policies in Appalachia (Updated May 6, 2011)

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment on May 5 began a two-part series of hearings on recent EPA policy decisions affecting coal mining, and the impacts of the agency’s actions on jobs and the economy of Appalachia.  Read more >> 

Legislation Approved to Extend Chemical Security Standards Through FY 2017 (Updated May 6, 2011)

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee approved on May 4 legislation that would extend the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) current chemical facility antiterrorism standards program through fiscal year 2017.  Read more >> 

Sen. Ben Cardin Reintroduces Safe Treatment of Polluted Stormwater Runoff Act (Updated May 6, 2011)

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) reintroduced legislation on May 5 - the Safe Treatment of Polluted Stormwater Runoff Act (STOPS) – [S. 898].  Read more >>  

Administration Releases Clean Water Framework, including Proposed Guidance on Clean Water Act Jurisdiction (Updated April 29, 2011)

Recognizing the economic and environmental importance of clean water and healthy watersheds, the Obama administration released a national clean water framework on April 27. Read more >> 

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Express Concerns Over Proposed Guidance on Water Bodies Subject to CWA (Updated April 22, 2011)

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released a letter on April 18 sent to EPA and the U. S. Army Corps expressing concern over their proposed guidance clarifying what water bodies are subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA), saying it would expand the scope of the act and amount to a “de facto” rule.  Read more >> 

Legislation Proposed to Address Clean Water Affordability Concerns (Updated April 15, 2011)

A bill was recently introduced by Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH), titled the "Clean Water Affordability Act of 2011" (H.R. 1189) that addresses affordability issues related to compliance with Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements.  Read more >> 

Homeland Security Subcommittee Approves Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security Authorization Act of 2011 (Updated April 15, 2011)

On April 14, the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies voted 6-4 to approve H.R. 901, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security Authorization Act (CFATS) of 2011, which extends the regulatory authority through 2017.  Read more >>  

EPA Budget Cut by $1.6 Billion In FY 2011 Spending Agreement (Updated April 15, 2011)

Congressional leaders and the White House reached a spending agreement for the rest of fiscal year 2011 on April 8 (H.R. 1473).  Read more >>  

USGS Releases Draft Report to Congress: Strengthening the Scientific Understanding of Climate Change Impacts on Fresh Water Resources (Updated April 8, 2011)

The Omnibus Public Lands Act (Section 9506 of Public Law 111-11, Appendix A, which incorporates the SECURE Water Act) calls for a report to Congress that describes the current scientific understanding of each impact of global climate change on freshwater resources of the United States.  Read more >>  

House Votes to Eliminate Clean Water Act Permits for Pesticide Applications (Updated April 1, 2011)

On March 31, the House passed legislation - Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R. 872) that would prevent EPA from implementing a court order requiring applicators of pesticides to obtain Clean Water Act permits before they apply pesticides into, over, or near bodies of water.  Read more >>
 

Policy on Federal Payment of Stormwater Fees Clarified by Justice Department (Updated March 25, 2011)

According to a February 25, 2011 Department of Justice (DOJ) memorandum, federal agencies may pay from their general lump-sum appropriations local fees for treating and managing stormwater runoff.  Read more >> 

Legislation Introduced to Require Economic Analysis of Certain EPA Regulations (Updated March 18, 2011)

Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) introduced a bill March 16 that would require certain EPA regulations to be assessed for their impacts on jobs, economic development, the electric power and domestic refining and petrochemical sectors, and state and local governments.  Read more >> 

Legislation Introduced to Regulate Hydraulic Fracturing (Updated March 18, 2011)

A bill introduced in both houses of Congress on March 15 - Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 587, H.R. 1084) would remove the exemption from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act for hydraulic fracturing due to increasing concerns over surface water contamination.  Read more >> 

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Approves Bill to Cut Duplicative Regulations for Proper Use of Pesticides (Updated March 18, 2011)

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on March 16 approved a bill to eliminate a costly and duplicative permitting requirement for the application of pesticides.  Read more >>  

Bill Approved by House Agriculture Committee Seeks to Negate Recent Pesticides Court Ruling (Updated March 11, 2011)

A House bill (H.R. 872) titled, "The Reducing Regulatory Burden Act," which was introduced by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) on March 2, was approved by the House Agriculture Committee on March 9.  Read more >> 

Legislation Introduced to Extend DHS Authority to Regulate Chemical Plant Security   (Updated March 11, 2011)

Legislation (H.R. 901) introduced by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies on March 3 would extend the authority of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to regulate the security of the nation's chemical facilities but does not include several provisions, such as inherently safer technology.  Read more >> 

EPA Officials Defend Proposed FY2012 Budget Before Congress (Updated March 4, 2011)

On March 2, EPA testified before both the House and the Senate on the President’s proposed EPA FY 2012 budgetRead more >> 

President Signs Two-Week Continuing Resolution (Updated March 4, 2011)

President Obama signed a two-week Continuing Resolution on March 2 funding Federal government operations until March 18.  Read more >> 

House Approves $61 Billion Spending Bill Cuts; $3 Billion In Cuts for EPA and Curbs on Regulatory Authority (Updated February 25, 2011)

The House of Representatives on February 19 adopted a continuing resolution (H.R. 1) that contains $61 billion in cuts over currently enacted levels, including $3 billion in cuts to EPA spending and prohibitions on its use of funds to propose, finalize, or enforce many environmental regulations, with a particular emphasis on climate change programs and water quality measures.  Read more >> 

House of Representatives Debates Continuing Resolution Funding Bill with $100 Billion in Cuts for FY 2011; EPA Budget Cut Nearly 30 Percent (Updated February 18, 2011)

The House Appropriations Committee on February 11 passed a continuing resolution (CR) spending bill (H.R. 1) to fund government operations for the rest of FY 2011.  Read more >> 

Legislation Reintroduced to Test Chemicals for Endocrine Effects in Drinking Water (Updated February 11, 2011)

Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) reintroduced a bill on February 8 that would require EPA to test additional chemicals that may be found in drinking water for potential effects on the endocrine system.  Read more >> 

House Appropriations Committee Delays Interim FY2011 Spending Bill to Seek Deeper Cuts; EPA, Energy, and USGS Budgets Targeted (Updated February 11, 2011)

The House Appropriations Committee on February 10 postponed the release of a continuing resolution spending bill to fund government operations for the rest of FY 2011 because it wants to propose $100 billion in cuts to President Obama's FY 2011 budget request instead of the $74 billion announced on February 9.  Read more >> 

House Republicans Propose $32 Billion in Budget Cuts (Updated February 4, 2011)

The House Budget Committee unveiled new spending caps on February 3 that they say would save at least $74 billion this fiscal year which ends September 30, but the savings are just $32 billion if measured against current spending. Read more >> 

President’s Budget Proposes Increased Funding For Clean Energy (Updated January 28, 2011)

According to the White House, President Obama will propose increasing funding for clean energy technology by one-third in his fiscal year 2012 budget, to $8 billion. Read more >> 

Legislation introduced to require vote on regulations with $100 million impact (Updated January 21, 2011)

On January 20, Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) reintroduced the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R.10), which would require a vote in Congress before any regulation with an economic impact of more than $100 million could go into effect. Read more >> 

2012 Farm Bill and Water Quality Update (Updated January 3, 2011)

Following the normal 5-year cycle, the Farm Bill will be reauthorized in 2012. The Congressional committee process for debating the 2012 Farm Bill will begin in the new Congress in 2011. Read more >> 

2010

EPA Issues Revisions to Stormwater Waste Load Allocations for NPDES and TMDL Framework (Updated December 10, 2010)

The recently released memo was directed to the EPA Regional Offices and provides an updated view of how stormwater discharges should be permitted and accounted for in the regulatory environment. Read more >> 

EPA Expands Chemical Testing for Endocrine Disruption; Issues Draft Policies (Updated November 19, 2010)

The list includes chemicals that have been identified as priorities under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and may be found in sources of drinking water where a substantial number of people may be exposed. Read more>> 

EPA Planning Proposed Rule to Revise Turbidity Limit for Stormwater Runoff from Construction and Development (Updated November 5, 2010)

EPA issued a notice on November 1, 2010 indicating that it will be proposing a rule in December that would revise the numeric limit for turbidity in effluent limitations guidelines for stormwater runoff from construction and development because of an error in the way the agency calculated the limit. Read More >> 

EPA Issues Clean Water and Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Policy (Updated October 15, 2010)

Water and wastewater infrastructure in the U.S. Communities across the country are facing challenges in making costly upgrades and repairs to their aging water infrastructure, which include sewer systems and treatment facilities. Read more>> 

EPA Issues Proposed MACT Standards for Sewage Sludge Incinerators; Mercury Emission Cuts Targeted (Updated October 15, 2010)

According to EPA, SSIs represent the sixth-largest source of mercury air emissions in the U.S. The proposed standards would apply to both multiple-hearth and fluidized bed incinerators. Read more >> 

Clean Water Legislation in Lame Duck Congress (Updated November 19, 2010)

As the 111th Congress enters into a lame duck session, significant water-related legislation has yet to be acted upon. Read more >> 

Obama Signs Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act (Updated October 15, 2010)

The bill is largely intended to keep drugs away from users to whom they are not prescribed, but it will have the added benefit of keeping them from being sent to a landfill or flushed away, which can result in pollution of drinking water.Read more >> 

U.S. Court of Appeals Grants EPA Remand Request for Portions of Stormwater Construction Rule (Updated September 3, 2010)

The decision means the agency can re-examine the first enforceable numeric limit on the amount of pollutants in stormwater that may be discharged from certain construction and development sites. Read more >> 

Obama Signs Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act (Updated October 15, 2010)

The bill is largely intended to keep drugs away from users to whom they are not prescribed, but it will have the added benefit of keeping them from being sent to a landfill or flushed away, which can result in pollution of drinking water. Read more >> 

U.S. Court of Appeals Grants EPA Remand Request for Portions of Stormwater Construction Rule (Updated September 3, 2010)

The decision means the agency can re-examine the first enforceable numeric limit on the amount of pollutants in stormwater that may be discharged from certain construction and development sites. Read more >> 

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Approves $6 Billion Water Resources Development Act (Updated July 30, 2010)

The committee focused the bill on traditional responsibilities of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, including navigation, flood control, environmental restoration, shore protection, hydropower, recreation, aquatic plant control, and water supply. More water >> 

Legislation Introduced to Protect Chemical and Water_Wastewater Facilities Nationwide (Updated July 16, 2010)

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) on July 15 introduced a comprehensive legislative package that would help to prevent debilitating terrorist attacks at America’s chemical, drinking water, and wastewater facilities. Read more >> 

Green Infrastructure Legislation Introduced in Senate (Updated July 16, 2010)

This piece of legislation would help to establish a Green Infrastructure (GI) technical program under the EPA Office of Water. Read more >> 

Legislation Introduced to Encourage New Technologies to Combat Stormwater Runoff (Updated July 9, 2010)

Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation on July 8 designed to help address the nation’s water quality challenges by encouraging the research, development and promotion of new technologies and designs that use natural processes to combat polluted stormwater runoff. Read more >> 

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Approves Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Bills (Updated July 2, 2010)

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on June 30 approved several bills to protect and restore great U.S. water bodies, including the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes.Read more >> 

Senate Committee Approves Bill Requiring Federal Agencies to Pay Stormwater Fees (Updated July 2, 2010)

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved legislation (S. 1816) on June 30 (see above related story) requiring the federal government to pay local fees for treating and managing stormwater runoff. Read more >> 

House Energy and Commerce Committee Revises Drinking Water Bill; Endocrine Disruptor Testing (Updated June 4, 2010)

The House Energy and Commerce Committee amended a drinking water bill May 26 to reduce its potential cost and to clarify that the legislation was not intended to expand the Environmental Protection Agency's authorities to regulate potential endocrine disruptors. Read more >> 

Legislation Introduced to Overhaul Drinking Water Act; Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Beefed Up (Updated May 14, 2010)

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) released legislation on May 10 that would authorize nearly $13 billion over the next five years for the state drinking water revolving fund (DWSRF) program and make other changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act. Read more >> 

House Approves Clean Estuaries Act of 2010; Authorizes $50 Million Annual Funding Through FY 2015 (Updated April 16, 2010)

On April 15, the House of Representatives approved the Clean Estuaries Act of 2010 (H.R. 4715), a bill to reauthorize and amend the National Estuary Program at a level of $50 million annually for fiscal years 2011-2015. Read more >> 

White House Announces Federal Government Intent to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Nearly 30% by 2020 (Updated January 29, 2010)

President Obama announced on January 29 that the federal government will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent by 2020. Read more >> 

2009

Considering the Clean Water Act Conference and Report (Updated October 30, 2009)

In October 2009, WEF and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University organized the Considering the Clean Water Act conference in Racine, Wisc.  Hosted by The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, 30 water experts from across the nation met and discussed key issues preventing the achievement of the Clean Water Act (CWA) goals first established nearly forty years ago. Conference participants recognized past successes of the CWA as well as the shortcomings and limitations of the existing law, then focused on viable potential solutions to move forward.  Some ideas that emerged included market-based solutions such as water pollution trading, adopting a more targeted and holistic watershed approach, implementing a new generation of technology-based controls for both point and nonpoint sources, utilizing integrated water management, reasonable assurance for nonpoint source implementation, and the need for adequate funding. See conference report >> 

WEF Joint Letter to House Appropriations Committee in Support of Funding USGS Stream Gauging Programs (Updated March 3, 2009)

WEF was one of 53 organizations that sent a joint letter to the House Appropriations Committee on March 3, 2009 in support funding of the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Cooperative Water Program (CWP) and National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP).
 

2008

WEF Comments on U.S. EPA Draft Strategy on Climate Change (Updated October, 2008)

Read a summary of the draft strategy and WEF's comments here.

Water Environment Federation’s Vice President Testifies at House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Hearing(Updated June, 2008)

The Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment met on Tuesday, June 24, 2008, to receive testimony on Comprehensive Watershed Management and Planning efforts. Water Environment Federation Vice President Paul Freedman was asked to testify on behalf of WEF along with witnesses from other water-related entities.
 

WEF Urges Congress to Address Water Resource Impacts of Climate Change (Updated May, 2008)

As Congress prepares to begin consideration of climate change legislation, a coalition of eight national water organizations are calling on senators and representatives to recognize the severe impacts that global climate change will likely have on water resources in the United States.

The groups – whose members serve the vast majority of U.S. water and wastewater consumers – are urging Congress to ensure that upcoming climate change legislation includes federal support and incentives to help drinking water providers, flood and stormwater agencies, and wastewater systems confront the impacts of climate change.

On May 20, a letter and joint statement were sent to members of the House and Senate in advance of next month’s planned consideration of S. 2191, the “Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act.”

2007

WEF Recognizes the 35th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act (Updated October, 2007)

On October 15, 2007, the Government Affairs Committee hosted “The Next 35 Years of the Clean Water Act,” a session at WEFTEC.07 in which panelists discussed new actions that must be taken to preserve and extend the goals of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for the next three and a half decades.  Click here to read the full summary. 
 

2006

WEF Board of Trustees Approves Position Statement on 2007 Farm Bill Reauthorization(Updated December, 2006)

On December 12, 2006, the WEF Board of Trustees gave final approval to WEF’s position statement on the 2007 Farm Bill reauthorization effort.