APWA – Washington Report – December 17, 2018

December 17, 2018 Share:
The next edition of APWA’s Washington Report will be sent out January 7, 2019. In the interim, please be sure to follow APWA Government Affairs on Twitter @APWAGOVAFFAIRS and check Advocacy News on http://www.apwa.net

FY2019 Appropriations Update
· Federal government agencies who have not yet received fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations funding are operating on a continuing resolution (CR) set to expire this Friday, December 21, 2018 at midnight;
· To date, 75% of federal government agencies funding for FY 2019 was approved prior to the midterm election held on November 6;
· Agencies whose FY 2019 appropriations have not been approved and are operating on the current CR are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Commerce, and Justice;
· President Trump is requesting that Congress approve $5 billion specifically to fund building a wall on the U.S. Southern Border and this remains the primary sticking point in negotiations;
· If an agreement is not reached, there will be a partial federal government shutdown of non-essential services within those federal departments who are operating on the current CR;
· Potential solutions being floated include extending the CR through September 30, 2019, or passing six of the seven spending bills in an omnibus and extending Homeland Security funding, whose budget includes border security, separately at current levels through FY 2019;
· Another possible short-term solution is a CR that will extend into the new year and the 116th Congress simply to avoid a shutdown over the Christmas holiday.
Trump Administration Redefines WOTUS
· Last week, the Trump Administration released the new proposed “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule;
· The proposed rule would overwrite a more stringent rule written by the Obama Administration in 2015;
· The Trump Administration has sought to delay implementation of the 2015 rule to allow for a new rule to be written;
· The new proposed rule argues that the Clean Water Act (CWA) should only apply to major rivers, their primary tributaries, and wetlands along their banks;
· Under this new definition, CWA jurisdiction would be removed for tens of thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands;
· EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler told reporters that the “new, more precise definition means that hard-working Americans will spend less time and money determining whether they need a federal permit.”;
· Mr. Wheeler also stated that the new proposed rule will save regulatory costs for industries such as mining and homebuilding while having little impact on the Nation’s water quality;
· Both EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers will be accepting comments on the proposed rule for 60 days, through February 9, 2019;
· However, it is likely that the comment period will be extended due to the number of comments expected;
· After the comment period, the agencies will be required to revise the proposed rule, and make public a final rule;
· The Trump Administration has stated that it plans to release the final rule in November 2019;
· APWA will be submitting comments on the new proposed rule;
· If you have questions or comments about the new proposed rule, please contact APWA Government Affairs Manager Sean Garcia at sgarcia@apwa.net.
Farm Bill Includes Drinking Water Protections
· This week, President Trump is expected to sign into law a bipartisan compromise farm bill (H.R. 2);
· The five-year legislation controls major elements of the nation’s agriculture production, as well as nutrition programs such as school lunches and food stamps;
· Included in this specific legislation is more U.S. Department of Agriculture funding to protect drinking water sources from nutrient runoff;
· Overall, the bill directs $4 billion over the next ten years to conservation practices that protect sources of drinking water;
· Specifically, the bill directs 10% of funding for the Natural Resources Conservation Service towards source water protection;
· The legislation also provides additional incentives for farmers who employ practices that benefit source waters.
Compromise Integrated Planning Bill Introduced in House
· Last week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the “Water Infrastructure Improvement Act,”;
· This legislation (H.R. 7279) would codify the Integrated Planning (IP) Framework developed by EPA several years ago;
· The IP language in the bill would help municipalities address sewer overflow, stormwater discharge, and municipal waste releases;
· Such plans could include implementation of projects for green infrastructure or for reclaiming, recycling, or reusing water;
· If enacted, the bill would require EPA to promote the use of green infrastructure for planning purposes, research, technical assistance and funding guidance.
DOT Releases BUILD Grant Awardee List
· Last week, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced $1.5 billion in Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants providing funding for 91 projects throughout the U.S.;
· During this round of funding there was a maximum grant award of $25 million for a single project, with a cap of $150 million per state;
· BUILD grants allow states to compete for federal dollars to fund road, rail, transit and port projects seeking to advance national objectives;
· For additional information and a list of the announced BUILD grants, please click here.
FEMA Schedules National Exercise Program Webinars
· The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be conducting four 60-minute webinars on the National Exercise Program (NEP) in December, and January 2019;
· The remaining webinars are scheduled for December 17, January 9, and January 15, each at 1:00 pm ET;
· The NEP is designed as a two-year cycle of exercises across the nation that examine and validate capabilities in all preparedness mission areas–protection, prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery;
· To register for a free webinar session, please click here;
· For additional NEP information, please click here.
FCC Seeks Comments on Cellular Vehicle-To-Everything Technology
· The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is requesting comments on a waiver to allow deployment of Cellular Vehicle-To-Everything (C-V2X) technology in the 5.9 GHZ Band;
· C-V2X communication is the sharing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa;
· Under existing FCC rules, there is limited access to the 5.9 GHZ Band exclusively for Dedicated Short Range Communications operating in the Intelligent Transportation System radio service;
· If you wish to submit comments, please send them to Marty Williams, Government Affairs Manager at mwilliams@apwa.net on or before January 7;
· If you wish to submit comments directly to the FCC, the deadline is January 11;

For additional information, please click here.