APWA’s Washington Report – April 23, 2018

April 23, 2018

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LATEST NEWS

FAA Reauthorization Bill Vote Expected This Week

  • This week, the House is expected to vote on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill (H.R. 4);
  • If enacted, H.R. 4 would reauthorize the agency through FY 2023;
  • Currently, the authorization for the agency expires on September 30, 2018;
  • FAA reauthorization is expected to be one of the last possible bills signed into law before the upcoming November mid-term elections;
  • Previously, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) pushed for privatization of the air traffic control system but that is not included in H.R. 4;
  • On the Senate side, Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-SD) has said he would like the bill conferenced and sent to the President before the August Congressional recess.

Disaster Mitigation Within FAA Reauthorization Bill

  • H.R. 4 includes provisions requiring the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to place greater emphasis on mitigation efforts addressing disasters;
  • The FEMA provisions were initially incorporated within H.R. 4460, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, introduced by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA);
  • Notable measures addressing disaster relief include authorizing $950 million annually from FY 2018 through FY 2022 for Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG), and $4 million annually from FY 2018 through FY 2022 for Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) grants;
  • To view text of H.R. 4460 click here and to view text of H.R.4 as currently offered click here.

U.S. DOT BUILD Funds Available

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced a notice of funding opportunity for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants, which replace the previous Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants;
  • $1.5 billion is available through September 30, 2020 on a competitive basis for funding surface transportation infrastructure with significant local or regional impact;
  • Webinars will be hosted by U.S. DOT on how to compete for the BUILD funding, one focused on rural and tribal applicants, and how to prepare a cost-benefit analysis for the application;
  • For additional information about the BUILD funding click here.

House Farm Bill Includes Language for Water Infrastructure

  • Last week, the House Committee on Agriculture approved H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018;
  • The legislation, which requires reauthorization every five years, covers agriculture policy, as well as nutrition programs such as school lunches and food stamps;
  • The bill, as approved by the Committee, includes additional funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP);
  • EQIP reimburses farmers for capital investments in cover crops, fertilizer storage, and other environmental projects designed to protect source water;
  • Democratic members of the Committee spoke out against the elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) under H.R. 2;
  • CSP paid farmers to use sustainable practices to improve drainage and reduce erosion;
  • The legislation also extends programs offering grants and loans to small water utilities to upgrade their drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities;
  • These programs had been eliminated (under the Rural Utilities Service) in the President’s FY 2019 budget request.

EPA Closes First WIFIA Loan

  • Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first loan from the Water Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (WIFIA) program;
  • The $134.5 million loan to King County, WA will finance nearly half of the costs for construction of its Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station;
  • King County was one of 12 projects selected for loans in 2017;
  • Earlier this month, EPA released a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the WIFIA program, after it received $63 million in funding from the FY 2018 omnibus spending bill;
  • This funding, which can be used to leverage private capital and other funding sources, could support up to $11 billion in water infrastructure investment;
  • You can find more resources and information on the program, including an updated FAQ and program handbook, on the WIFIA home page;
  • There is also a series of webinars scheduled to provide potential applicants with more information on the program and application process.

Road to Zero Report Released

  • The Road to Zero Coalition, of which APWA is a member, has released a comprehensive report on how the group will eliminate all roadway related deaths in the U.S. by 2050;
  • Written by the RAND Corporation, with information and input provided by the Coalition members, the report identifies three initiatives:
    • Double down on what works through proven, evidence-based strategies;
    • Advance life-saving technology in vehicles and infrastructure;
    • Prioritize safety by adopting a safe systems approach and creating a positive safety culture;
  • The Coalition meets approximately every three months, with the next meeting scheduled for June 28;
  • To read “Road to Zero: A vision for achieving zero roadway deaths by 2050”, click here.

APWA Participates in Water Week

  • Last week, APWA Mid-Atlantic chapter members joined with water professionals from around the nation to participate in Water Week;
  • Joining with a dozen other national organizations, APWA met with Congressional offices to advocate for elevating water as a national priority;
  • APWA members met with key members of Congress serving on the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, and House Committee on Energy & Commerce;
  • To read the policy positions from Water Week click here, and to read APWA’s Water Resources Priorities click here.

Senate EPW Holds Hearing on Groundwater

  • Last week, the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works held a hearing on regulations related to pollution through groundwater;
  • Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) is considering legislation that would overturn current EPA policy;
  • The current policy requires a federal discharge permit whenever any pollutants are released into groundwater directly connected to protected rivers, lakes, and streams;
  • These permits are issued and regulated under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES);
  • Recent decisions in federal appeals courts found that pollution discharges via groundwater violates the Clean Water Act (CWA);
  • If those rulings stand, according to Chairman Barrasso, thousands of additional permits would be required, including permits for homeowners with septic tanks;
  • In light of the cour decisions, EPA is accepting comments on whether to change their policy until May 21.

FEMA Disseminates NFIP Affordability Report

  • Last week, FEMA released their National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Affordability Report which includes measures on how Congress could aid low-income NFIP policy holders;
  • Additionally, the report details steps taken by FEMA to reduce the financial burden caused from purchasing flood insurance;
  • To read the report click here.

DHS Releases CERRA Emergency Preparedness Guide

  • The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Crisis Event Response and Recovery Access (CERRA) team has released an updated guide on emergency preparedness access and implementation;
  • APWA serves on the CERRA Working Group, consisting of national organizations, government sector and coordinating councils, and federal department and agencies;
  • The CERRA guide aims to assist government, commercial, and nongovernment organizations to effectively coordinate, react, respond, with emergency management and law enforcement before, during, and following disastrous events;
  • To review the updated CERRA guide click here.

NIST Releases Updated Cybersecurity Framework

  • Last week, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released the latest version of their Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Guide, known as Version 1.1;
  • Areas of emphasis in Version 1.1 include instruction on self-assessing cybersecurity risk and vulnerability disclosure;
  • This voluntary guide is intended to serve as another tool for private companies and government agencies to manage critical infrastructure cybersecurity risks;
  • This is the second version as NIST first published Version 1.0 in 2014;
  • To view Version 1.1 click here.

DHS Webinar on Physical Security & Cybersecurity

  • On May 3 from 1:00 pm-2:30 pm ET, DHS Regional Consortium Coordinating Council (RC3) and the State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Coordinating Council (SLTTGCC), are scheduled to host a webinar on how physical security and cybersecurity teams can find common ground to reduce costs and improve an organization’s overall security;
  • For additional information on the webinar click here.

ON THE HORIZON

  • April 23 at 10:00 am ET, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, & Communications has scheduled a field hearing on securing our communities, with a focus on high-risk urban areas – click here for more information;
  • April 24 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry has scheduled a hearing on the state of rural America – click here for more information;
  • April 24 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs has scheduled a hearing on mitigating America’s cybersecurity risk – click here for more information;
  • April 25 at 11:30 am ET, the House Committee on Small Business has scheduled a hearing on the Small Business Perspective of American Infrastructure – click here for more information;
  • April 25 at 2:00 pm ET, the House Committee on Natural Resources has scheduled a hearing on the National Environmental Policy Act and environmental lawsuits – click here for more information;
  • April 25 at 3:00 pm ET, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs has scheduled a hearing on the nomination of Christopher C. Krebs to serve as Under Secretary, National Protection and Programs Directorate, US Department of Homeland Security – click here for more information;
  • April 25 at 3:30 pm ET, the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has scheduled a hearing titled “Preparing Small Businesses for Cybersecurity Success” – click here for more information;
  • April 26 at 10:00 am ET, the House Committee on Homeland Security is scheduled to hold a hearing on the President’s FY2019 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security – click here for more information;

April 26 at 10:00 am ET, the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment has scheduled a hearing with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the agency’s FY 2019 budget request – click here for more information.