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APWA – Congressional Republicans Work to Expand Trump Order on Streamlining

Congressional Republicans Work to Expand Trump Order on Streamlining

  • Congressional Republicans introduced legislation to expand on the Executive Order recently signed by President Trump urging federal agencies to accelerate projects on federal lands;
  • Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced two bills to change the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to speed up infrastructure projects;
  • The first, S. 3926, would amend the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to give “project proponents more control over the timetable, and prevents litigants from unnecessarily holding up projects;”
  • The second, S. 3927, would reduce the time that opponents could challenge a project permit or approval in court from 150 days to 90;
  • In the House, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) introduced H.R. 7130, which would codify into law the president’s 2017 executive order consolidating the review process across federal agencies;
  • APWA supports various elements of these bills in comments submitted in March on NEPA reforms, including:
    • Establishing a time limit of two years for completion of Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and one year for Environmental Assessments (EA);
    • Establishing a 300-page limit for each EIS and a 75-page limit for each EA;
    • Establishing a lead federal agency to develop a joint review schedule, and preparation of a single EIS and joint record of decision for projects that require multi-agency reviews;
    • Excluding non-federal projects (or those with minimal federal funding or involvement) from the NEPA review process;
    • Reducing duplication between federal, state and local governments by facilitating the use of documentation required by other statutes to comply with NEPA.
  • APWA is supportive of previous efforts to streamline regulations, including under the FAST Act and the “One Federal Decision” executive order;
  • APWA’s comments also reinforce the need for state and local control in infrastructure projects;
  • APWA members do not support inserting a “shot-clock” regarding permit review in any update of the NEPA regulations;
  • The comments make clear the need to keep “cumulative reviews” as a part of NEPA in order to accurately assess environmental impacts and resiliency of infrastructure.
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U.S. DOT Announces Safety Data Initiative Funds

U.S. DOT Announces Safety Data Initiative Funds

  • On June 10, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced $3.3 million in cooperative funding agreements from its Safety Data Initiative will be made available to numerous state and local governments around the country;
  • The Safety Data Initiative applies data integration and analysis techniques, tests new tools, and shares lessons learned and best practices to advance transportation safety;
  • Click here for more information on the initiative.
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DHS Seeking Feedback from First Responders on UAS

DHS Seeking Feedback from First Responders on UAS

  • Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced they are seeking comments on the survey,“Understanding Public Perception and Acceptance of First Responders Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems” until July 9, 2020;
  • The intent of the survey is to identify concerns with and understand the public perception of current and potential uses of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology by first responders;
  • The survey requests respondents include their demographic characteristics, knowledge of UAS, general attitudes about such use, and opinions about the use of drones by first responders for specific applications like search-and-rescue.
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APWA – FEMA Releases Business Emergency Operations Center Guidance

FEMA Releases Business Emergency Operations Center Guidance

  • Last week, FEMA released the “Business Emergency Operations Center Quick Start Guidance;”
  • The guidance is designed to provide states, local, tribes and territories with basic recommendations for establishing a Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) to support COVID-19 response and recovery operations.
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APWA – FEMA Seeking Comments on Effectiveness in Maintaining and Improving Preparedness

FEMA Seeking Comments on Effectiveness in Maintaining and Improving Preparedness

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APWA Urges Congress to Invest in Infrastructure for COVID-19 Recovery

APWA Urges Congress to Invest in Infrastructure for COVID-19 Recovery

  • On June 9, APWA sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging broad infrastructure investment be included in the next COVID-19 legislative recovery package;
  • Specifically, and in alignment with APWA’s 116th Congress Public Policy Priorities, APWA calls for:
    • The enactment of a new surface transportation law before the current one expires on September 30, 2020;
    • Federal assistance to help with costs incurred due to moratoriums on water service disconnections, and low, or no-interest loans to help utility operators;
    • Additional funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), and more FEMA Grant money to assist state and local governments in their efforts to combat COVID-19.
  • The letter also urges Congress to provide $500 billion over two years to state and local governments, and increased flexibility with no exclusions based on population.
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FEMA – Survey on Understanding Public Perception and Acceptance of First Responders Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems?…

Good morning,

For your consideration, I am attaching a link with details on a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) survey released yesterday titled  Â“Understanding Public Perception and Acceptance of First Responders Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems”.

The main goal of the survey is to understand the public perception of and identify concerns with current and potential uses of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) technology by first responders. 

The survey requests respondents include their demographic characteristics, knowledge of UAS, knowledge of the use of UAS by first responders, their overall trust in the use of new technologies by the government and first responders, their general attitudes about such use, and their opinions about the use of drones by first responders for specific applications like search-and-rescue. The deadline to respond to the survey is July 9, 2020.

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FEMA Releases Business Emergency Operations Center Quick Start Guidance as America is Opening Up Again

FEMA Releases Business Emergency Operations Center Quick Start Guidance as America is Opening Up Again

Engagement and integration of businesses and other organizations is critical as communities work to implement reopening plans aligned to the President’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again and informed by available Community Mitigation Guidance and guidance for businesses and workplaces. The “Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) Quick Start Guidance” provides states, locals, tribes and territories with foundational concepts for establishing a Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) to support their response and recovery operations for COVID-19.

Establishing a BEOC provides a jurisdiction a consistent integration point for private and public coordination for sustained response and recovery operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with no requirement for physical contact. To view the “Business Emergency Operations Center Quick Start Guidance”, visit http://www.fema.gov/plan.

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FEMA – NATIONAL ENGAGEMENT FOR THE DRAFT NIMS IMPLEMENTATION OBJECTIVES FOR FEDERAL DEPARTEMENTS AND AGENCIES

NATIONAL ENGAGEMENT FOR THE DRAFT NIMS IMPLEMENTATION OBJECTIVES FOR FEDERAL DEPARTEMENTS AND AGENCIES

FEMA’s National Integration Center is seeking public feedback for an update of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Implementation Objectives for Federal Departments and Agencies. This National Engagement Period will conclude at 5:00 p.m. EDT on June 17, 2020. National Engagement provides an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the draft implementation objectives, to ensure they are relevant for all implementing partners. 

Federal departments and agencies play an important role in ensuring effective NIMS implementation; not only do they implement NIMS within their departments and agencies, they also ensure that the systems and processes are in place to communicate and support NIMS implementation at all jurisdictional levels.

FEMA previously revised the Federal NIMS Implementation Objectives in 2009. In this current updatewe seek to ensure the objectives are consistent with the Third Edition of the NIMS, published in October 2017. The Third Edition of NIMS retains the concepts and principles from the 2008 and 2004 versions of NIMS, while reflecting changes to laws, policies, and best practices. Additionally, the Third Edition of NIMS provides additional information on the roles of off-scene incident personnel such as senior leaders and emergency operations center personnel.

FEMA has developed implementation indicators for each Implementation Objective. These indicators serve as actionable activities that jurisdictions can use to demonstrate NIMS implementation. The indicators are not requirements or criteria, nor are the indicators intended as a checklist for achieving the objectives. The indicators are a tool to assist Federal departments and agencies in meeting the new implementation objectives.

FEMA will host a series of webinars to discuss the proposed NIMS Implementation Objectives for Federal Departments and Agencies and answer related questions. All webinars are open to the whole community.

For more information on the webinars and to review the draft objectives, visit: https://www.fema.gov/national-incident-management-system/national-engagement.

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DisasterAssistance.gov Partners Share Resources for COVID-19 Response

Partner Spotlight

DisasterAssistance.gov Partners Share Resources for COVID-19 Response

As COVID-19 continues to grip the country, the Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP) is working alongside its Federal partner agencies to provide relevant information and resources to the public. On April 2, 2020, DAIP Stakeholder Relations and Management team held its regular monthly call with the federal partnership to share resources available and discuss how many agencies have been providing information to the public. For example:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development shared information specifically related to homeless and housing insecure populations:

  • Health Preparedness Information For I Homeless Providers: Health Information for Homeless Populations
  • Infectious Disease Toolkit for Continuum of Care (CoC) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG). This funding supports homeless projects throughout the country to assist households move into sustainable housing, COC homeless shelters: Infectious Disease Toolkit

The Department of Labor shared information about their public-facing site Benefits.gov. In response to increase in visitors to Benefits.gov, developed critical communications, including:

The Department Treasury/IRS shared information about tax filing guidance available.

The State Department shared information that Americans overseas can access if they need assistance along with information on their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) that provides information on travel advisors, at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/information/foreign-disasters. 

The Office of Personnel Management OPM shared the relevant information for Federal employees including teleworking guidance and information for Federal Agencies navigating the hiring process during COVID-19.