APWA Washington Report – June 18, 2018

LATEST NEWS

Senate EPW Holds Hearing on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

  • June 13, the full Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing focused on the effects of emerging technologies and connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) on our nation’s infrastructure;
  • The witness panel was comprised of leaders from industry, government, and research;
  • EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) noted in his opening comments that our infrastructure must be prepared and equipped to handle the challenges CAV will bring as they are more widely deployed;
  • The Chairman was optimistic in his views that CAV will bring great opportunities for improving safety and mobility;
  • EPW Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) echoed Chairman Barrasso’s comments regarding the potential CAV have for improving safety and mobility, but also added CAV success will depend on how they are deployed and the investment we make as a country to ensure our roads are ready for this technology;
  • To view an archive of the Senate EPW hearing click here.

Senate Committee Approves EPA Spending Bill

  • Last week, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior-Environment unanimously approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 spending bill for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA);
  • Senate Appropriators rejected cuts to the agency proposed by the Trump Administration, maintaining overall funding for EPA at $8.05 billion;
  • Funding for the State Revolving Funds were increased to $1.7 billion for clean water (CWSRF) and $1.16 billion for drinking water (DWSRF);
  • The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program was also given a significant boost, to $63 million;
  • WIFIA appropriations in this amount could support lending for water infrastructure projects totaling $6 billion;
  • Members from both parties withheld “poison pill” amendments that have prevented passage of the bill in previous years;
  • It is unclear what the process for floor debate on the bill will be, as the Senate is scheduled to begin work on several other appropriations bills this week.

House Plans Votes on Homeland Security Legislation This Week

  • Under suspension of the rules, which is reserved for quick passage of non-controversial legislation, the House is planning a vote on H.R. 4627, the Shielding Public Spaces From Vehicular Terrorism Act, introduced by Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY);
  • H.R. 4627 would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Under Secretary for Science and Technology to lead a study on addressing the vulnerabilities of public locations to terrorist attacks;
  • Also under suspension of the rules, the House will consider H.R. 4991, the Supporting Research and Development for First Responders Act, introduced by Rep. Donovan;
  • H.R. 4991 would instruct the DHS Secretary to study emerging technologies and conduct research to assist emergency response providers in preparing for, and protecting against, threats of terrorism.

EPA and Army Corps Submit Proposed Rule on WOTUS

  • Last week, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted a new proposed rule on “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS);
  • The agencies announced that they would be sending the proposal to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), but offered few specifics;
  • Shortly after taking office, President Trump issued an executive order directing the agencies to write a new WOTUS rule;
  • Specifically, the definition of the term “navigable waters” is questioned, as that definition determines what bodies or water would fall under Clean Water Act jurisdiction under WOTUS;
  • While the document sent to OMB has not been released, the executive order issued by President Trump directed the agencies to define that term less broadly than the Obama Administration’s rule;
  • OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has 90 days to review proposed rules such as this one, but the agency can extend the review indefinitely;
  • The latest regulatory agenda published by the Trump Administration anticipates the publication of a proposed WOTUS rule in the Federal Register by August of this year, with a final rule by November 2019;
  • APWA submitted comments to the agencies on the need for clarity in the WOTUS rule in September 2017.

Senate Confirms Chris Krebs to Head DHS Cyber and Infrastructure Division

  • Last week, the Senate confirmed Chris Krebs as DHS Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD);
  • In this role Mr. Krebs will have oversight of the security of federal civilian networks and spearheading the federal government’s efforts to protect critical infrastructure from cyber and physical threats;
  • Mr. Krebs has been serving as Under Secretary in an acting capacity since last summer;
  • Prior to coming to DHS Mr. Krebs worked in the Administration of President George W. Bush and for Microsoft in their government affairs division.

President Plans to Nominate Cyber Veteran to Lead DOE Cyber Office

  • President Trump plans to nominate Mrs. Karen Evans to serve as Secretary of Energy for the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER) with the Department of Energy (DOE);
  • CESER was established earlier this year to enhance the DOE’s cybersecurity efforts and energy infrastructure security;
  • Mrs. Evans currently serves as National Director of U.S. Cyber Challenge, a public-private program dedicated to strengthening the cybersecurity workforce, and has also worked at the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush;
  • Mrs. Evans’ appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

FCC Seeks Comments on Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework

  • The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHB) is requesting comments on the Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework (NRCF) in effort to assess its efficiency;
  • The NRCF is a voluntary industry commitment to promote resilient wireless communications and situational awareness during disasters;
  • You may submit comments to Marty Williams, APWA Government Affairs Manager, on or before July 9;
  • The deadline to submit comments directly to the FCC is July 16;
  • To view the FCC release with additional information on this announcement click here.

NISC Hosts Webinar on Increasing Situational Awareness for First Responders

  • On June 21 the National Information Sharing Consortium (NISC) is scheduled to conduct a webinar on delivering next generation data to public safety answering points (PSAPs) and beyond to help safeguard first responders and their communities;
  • For additional information and to register for this free webinar click here.

ON THE HORIZON

  • June 19 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Homeland Security is scheduled to conduct a markup on DHS Appropriations for FY 2019 – click here for more information;
  • June 20 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee has scheduled a hearing on the nominations of William Charles McIntosh and Peter C. Wright to be Assistant Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency – click here for more information;
  • June 21 at 9:30 am ET, the Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to hold a markup on DHS Appropriations for FY 2019 – click here for more information;

June 21 at 10:00 am ET, the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure is scheduled to hold a hearing on the PIPES Act of 2016 implementation and oversight of pipeline safety programs – click here for more information.