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APWA – Washington Report – January 7, 2019

January 7, 2019 Share:
To stay informed about happenings on Capitol Hill please be sure to follow APWA Government Affairs on Twitter @APWAGOVAFFAIRS and check Advocacy News on http://www.apwa.net.


LATEST NEWS
FY2019 Appropriations Update
• Federal government agencies who have not yet received fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations funding have had all non-essential operations shutdown;
• These agencies had been operating on a continuing resolution (CR) which expired on 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, 2018;
• Agencies impacted by the partial government shutdown include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Commerce, and Justice;
• Disagreement over funding for border protection, specifically funding to build a wall/barrier on the U.S. Southern Border remains the sticking point in negotiations;
• The 116th Congress was sworn into office on January 3, 2019, and the Democrats are now the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, while Republicans retain control of the U.S. Senate;
• Both President Trump and the Democrats appear to be digging in their heels with no foreseeable resolution to end the shutdown on the near horizon;
• Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill to reopen the federal government by a vote of 241-190;
• However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that he will not bring any bills for a vote in the Senate which President Trump will not sign;
• President Trump has stated that the shutdown may last months or longer;
• APWA will continue to work with Administration and Congressional staff to ensure that public works interests are represented in all negotiations.
President to Issue EO Regarding Wildfire Prevention
• President Trump plans to issue Executive Order (EO) 13855 today, directing the Department of Interior to expedite removal of vegetation which can lead to wildfires;
• To view the EO, please click here.
U.S. DOT Releases Funding for INFRA Grants
• On December 21, 2018 the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for the second round of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program;
• Subject to FY 2019 appropriations, DOT is expecting to make available between $855-902.5 million for projects aligned with the Administration’s principles “to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure”;
• Funding awarded to large projects will require the INFRA grant be at least $25 million, and for small projects the INFRA grant must be at least $5 million;
• Ten percent of available INFRA grant funds each fiscal year will be reserved for small projects and at least 25% of INFRA grants are required to be reserved for rural projects;
• Click here for additional information about the program and application process;
• At this time, the Federal Register states that the “APPLY” function will open today, January 7, and that applications are due by March 4;
• However, due to the federal government shutdown the Federal Register is not currently being updated.
Named Congressional Committee Chairs &
Ranking Members
• Please find below, the currently known Chairs and Ranking Members in the House and Senate, of committees which APWA works with on legislation impacting the public works industry
• Senate Committee on Appropriations: Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL), Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT);
• Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Chair Ron Johnson (R-WI), Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI);
• Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: Chair John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE);
• Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation: Chair Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA);
• Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources: Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-WV);
• Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs: Chair Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH);
• Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair: Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD);
• House Committee on Appropriations Chair: Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX);
• House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO);
• House Committee on Homeland Security: Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL);
• House Committee on Financial Services: Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC).

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APWA Transportation Committee’s Connected Vehicles Subcommittee Survey

The APWA Transportation Committee’s Connected Vehicles Subcommittee is tasked with providing guidance for our membership regarding upcoming changes in workflows due to autonomous and connected vehicles.

The Autonomous Vehicle/Connected Vehicle (AV/CV) industry is new and radically changing every day, resulting in limited data to update those within the industry on the topic.

This survey seeks input from APWA’s members to provide direction to the subcommittee on the most helpful aspects of the industry in which guidance is needed. For example, do you need best practices/state of practice guidance on current policy to enact or is equipment such as DSRC radios and fiber more important to understand?

To take the survey, click here. The deadline to complete this survey is December 19, 2018.

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APWA – Washington Report – November 26, 2018

November 26, 2018                                     Share:

Please be sure to follow APWA Government Affairs on Twitter @APWAGovAffairs.

LATEST NEWS

FY 2019 Appropriations Update

  • Congressional Republicans may combine the seven remaining unfinished spending bills into a single package in the coming weeks;
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) met with President Trump recently at the White House to discuss the potential package;
  • President Trump has indicated that he would not sign any spending bill which does not include funding for a southern border wall;
  • Both McConnell and Shelby appeared optimistic that a government shutdown will be avoided;
  • House Appropriators have also indicated that they may include other bills in the spending package, including an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) currently set to expire on November 30, and the farm bill;
  • Last month, President Trump signed H.R. 6157, which funds the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education;
  • To date, in addition to the departments included in H.R. 6157, President Trump has signed Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations to fund Energy and Water, the Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs;
  • The remaining federal government departments, whose FY 2019 appropriations have not been passed by Congress, will be funded at FY 2018 levels through December 7 by a continuing resolution (CR) included in H.R. 6157;
  • The House has set a target adjournment date of December 13, while the Senate has targeted December 14;
  • Funding the government for the remainder of FY 2019 may be one of the last acts of the 115th Congress, prior to Democrats taking control of the House in January 2019.

President Signs Legislation Modifying DHS Cyber Agency

  • On November 16, President Trump signed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Act of 2018 into law, following passage by the Senate and House earlier this year;
  • Now known as Public Law No: 115-278, the measure along with formerly changing the name of the former Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) to CISA, establishes three divisions which will cover Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Security and Emergency Communications within the newly named agency;
  • For additional information and to view text of the law, please click here.

House Plans Vote to Reauthorize National Earthquake Program

  • This week, under suspension of the rules, the House is expected to vote on S. 1768, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization (NEHRP) Act of 2017, originally introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and previously passed by the Senate in September;
  • If enacted, the legislation would amend the NEHRP Act of 1977 by expanding activities to include the gathering information on community resilience, publishing a systematic set of maps of active faults and folds, liquefaction susceptibility, susceptibility for earthquake-induced landslides, and other seismically induced hazards;
  • Additionally, the measure would continue the development of the Advanced National Seismic System, which provides earthquake early warning capabilities;
  • To view text of the bill, please click here.

FEMA Releases National Preparedness Report

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released their National Preparedness Report;
  • The report provides an evaluation of the progress and challenges faced by individuals and communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all levels of government must face in preparation for disasters and emergencies;
  • To view the report, please click here.

Wheeler to be Nominated as EPA Head

  • President Trump recently announced that he would nominate Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler for the full-time job;
  • Wheeler was named Acting Administrator of the Agency after the resignation of Scott Pruitt in July;
  • Wheeler was confirmed by the Senate earlier this year as Deputy Administrator, but will need another confirmation for this position;
  • It is unclear when the Senate would hold confirmation hearings;
  • Wheeler has continued to focus the Agency on rewriting regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States (WOTUS).

DHS OIG Report on FEMA Oversight of IPAWS

  • Last week, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released their report on FEMA’s oversight of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS);
  • IPAWS aggregates alert and warning messages from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities, also known as alerting authorities;
  • The information is then distributed to the public via radio and television broadcasts, cellular phone messages, and internet applications;
  • The major finding, as detailed in the report, includes the OIG assessment that although FEMA maintains IPAWS as a messaging platform, state and local alerting authorities must obtain commercially-available emergency alert software to generate a message which passes through IPAWS for authentication and delivery;
  • To view the report, please click here.

Head of EPA Drinking Water Office to Retire

  • The Director of the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water (OGWDW) at the EPA, Dr. Peter Grevatt, has announced his retirement;
  • Dr. Grevatt, who has been at EPA in a variety of positions for the past 30 years, is set to leave by the end of 2018;
  • Dr. Grevatt has been involved in a variety of drinking water issues recently, including Harmful algal Blooms in Lake Erie, lead contamination in Flint, MI, and recent work done by the agency on PFAS substances;
  • There has not been any announcement regarding his replacement.

DHS Seeking Comments on First Responder Community of Practice

  • DHS is requesting input on the First Responders Community of Practice (FRCoP), which is a web-based tool used to compile profile information from first responders and select authorized non-first responder users to facilitate networking and formation of online communities;
  • If you wish to submit comments to APWA, please send them to Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams on or before December 6;
  • If you wish to submit comments directly to DHS, the deadline is December 17;
  • To review the proposal, and for information to submit comments directly, please click here.

FCC Seeking Comments on Hurricane Michael Preparation and Response

  • The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is seeking comments on the Hurricane Michael Preparation and Response;
  • The FCC is specifically looking for recommendations on actions they should consider for improving their response to disasters;
  • If you wish to submit comments to APWA, please send them to Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams on or before December 7;
  • The deadline to submit comments directly to the FCC is December 17;
  • To view the FCC request for comments and for additional details including how to submit comments directly, please click here.

FEMA Announces Risk MAP Guidelines and Standards 2018

  • FEMA is accepting comments on announced planned changes to Risk MAP standards;
  • FEMA maintains guidelines and standards to support the Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning (Risk MAP) Program;
  • These guidelines and standards define the specific implementation of the statutory and regulatory requirements for NFIP;
  • If you wish to submit comments to APWA, please send them to Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams on or before December 2;
  • If you wish to submit comments directly to FEMA, the deadline is December 7;
  • For additional information on the proposed changes and submitting comments, please click here.

APWA Participating in FirstNet Panel

  • On Tuesday, at 3:15 pm ET, Government Affairs Manager Marty Williams will participate in a panel discussion during the Federal P3 Conference;
  • The panel, which will also include Michael Newburn of AT&T, will focus on the use of public private partnerships or P3’s and how they may assist first responders;
  • The two-day Federal P3 Conference will emphasize how P3’s can be employed to improve infrastructure delivery and discuss methods to bring public property into better condition;
  • For additional information, including a copy of the conference agenda, please click here.

FEMA Releasing PrepTalk Featuring APWA Member Phil Mann

  • FEMA plans to release the September 6 PrepTalk presentation from APWA member Phil Mann on December 4;
  • PrepTalks, which began this past January, are a partnership of the emergency management community including FEMA, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Homeland Security Consortium, and The Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security;
  • For additional information on the PrepTalk, please click here.

ON THE HORIZON

  • November 28, at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee has scheduled a hearing on addressing America’s surface transportation needs – click here for more information;
  • November 29, at 10:30 am ET, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee has scheduled a hearing on the nomination of Alexandra Dunn to be Assistant Administrator of EPA – click here for more information.
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Supporting our Public Works brethren in times of need (APWA.)

Hello FL Chapter APWA Members,

It has been nearly 4 weeks since Hurricane Michael hit Florida and devastated the Panhandle. One of the missions of APWA is to help our Public Works brethren in time of need. The Chapter established the APWA FL Chapter Disaster Recovery Assistance (DRA) Fund after the storms of 2004, including Bonnie, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne which caused substantial damage to Florida communities. It is recognized these Public Works personnel are often called upon to work extended hours in order to restore essential services to their communities. In doing so, such individuals often put the needs of their communities before their personal needs or the needs of their families.

We want to ensure that our members are aware of the process for requesting distribution from the DRA. There is a form that is to be completed by the requesting agency’s Public Works representative. Examples of goods that can be provided are food and/or water; general cleaning supplies; general clothing items and toiletries; items to assist with temporary house repair such as hand tools, roof or window coverings/tarps, etc.

Not only do we provide relief funding for the purchase of goods for those affected, we also help coordinate volunteer efforts through two committees, Chuck McLendon is Chair of the Emergency Management Committee and Chris Evers is the DRA Non-Board Member Representative. Here is how they are reached for those of you who want to reach out for assistance via the Chapter’s DRA and/or assistance with coordinating volunteer efforts.
Chuck McLendon, cmclendon@soundsideconsulting.com
Chris Evers, cevers@pavetechinc.com

As important as these efforts are is telling the story, so if you have stories to tell, please send this information to Chas at chasj@apwaflorida.org for inclusion in the magazine. Attached is the Operation Sister City flyer which is a Joint Relief Effort for the Employees of Bay County Public Works and the City of Callaway (photos attached) initiated by the City of Palm Beach Gardens.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.

Thanks for all that you do for Public Works,

Amy Blaida, MPA

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APWA – Washington Report – October 15, 2018

October 15, 2018                                     Share:

**Please note the next edition of APWA’s Washington Report will not be issued until November 12. In the interim, stay updated by following APWA Government Affairs on Twitter @APWAGovAffairs and checking Advocacy News on APWA.net.

LATEST NEWS

Senate Adjourns Until November 13

  • Last Thursday night, the Senate recessed (the House recessed in September) and will not return to D.C. until after the November 6 midterm election;
  • Before leaving town, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which APWA strongly supported, by an overwhelming vote of 99-1;
  • WRDA, which includes the Secure Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act, and other elements related to water infrastructure, now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law;
  • In recent weeks, fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) appropriations measures were passed, allowing for most federal agencies to be funded through September 30, 2019, however, the remaining FY 2019 appropriations, including Transportation, are on a continuing resolution through December 7, 2018;
  • In addition to the FY 2019 Transportation appropriations measure not being passed prior to the midterm election, the Senate, for now, will not be considering S. 1885 ‘A Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act’ or AV START;
  • Senator John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) have been working for months on the autonomous vehicle (AV) legislation, trying to garner support, with the last attempt aimed at being attached to the recently signed into law, Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization (H.R. 302);
  • Concerns regarding jurisdictional issues, data protection, and maintaining federal safety oversight are still under discussion which led to S. 1885 not yet being considered by the full Senate;
  • The House passed H.R. 3388, the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act, or SELF DRIVE, in the fall of 2017.

NHTSA Seeking Input on Autonomous Vehicles

  • On October 10, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register;
  • The Agency is seeking input from all stakeholders regarding the near and long-term challenges related to automated driving systems;
  • Specifically, NHTSA is looking for comments on factors to be considered in designing a pilot program for on-the-road testing of vehicles with high and full driving automation; recommendations on existing statutory provisions and regulations to implement this type of pilot program; suggestions for regulatory relief to facilitate the pilot efforts; and recommendations for the safety analysis and other analyses to be used in assessing implementation of this pilot program;
  • Comments are due no later than November 26, and when submitting comments, please refer to docket: NHTSA-2018-0092.

EPA Gives States Authority on PFAS

  • Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will offer more support for states to find, regulate, and clean up poly- and perfluorinated compounds (PFAS);
  • PFAS are a toxic group of industrial chemicals used in a wide variety of products, including firefighting foam and nonstick products;
  • The EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water Director Peter Grevatt stated that the agency will continue to support states and tribes addressing PFAS;
  • In addition to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOA), the Agency will examine hundreds of related compounds;
  • Director Grevatt announced that addressing the compounds as a class, rather than individually, would best protect public health;
  • In 2016, EPA issued a lifetime health advisory (LHA) of 70 parts per trillion (PPT) for the PFAS chemicals perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA);
  • However, these LHA’s are not enforceable, and have been criticized as being dangerously high.

Senate Votes to Confirm FEMA Deputy Administrator

  • Last week, the Senate voted to confirm Peter Gaynor as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Deputy Administrator;
  • Mr. Gaynor, a former Marine, most recently served as the Director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency;
  • To view a statement on the confirmation from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, please click here.

FHWA Announces New Executive Director

  • On October 12, Acting Administrator for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Brandye Hendrickson, announced Tom Everett will be the Agency’s next Executive Director;
  • Mr. Everett’s tenure as Executive Director will officially begin on October 22, and in his new role will be responsible for overseeing the daily operations and management of FHWA;
  • The position works directly with FHWA leadership to execute agency policies, strategic initiatives, and performance goals established by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao;
  • Mr. Everett’s current position with FHWA is Associate Administrator for the Agency’s Office of Infrastructure.

DHS Releases Strategy to Protect Against Electromagnetic Incidents

  • The Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) strategy is intended to provide an approach for DHS to protect critical infrastructure and prepare to respond and recover from potentially catastrophic electromagnetic incidents;
  • The strategy also reflects a consensus Intelligence Community assessment of the EMP threat posed by our nation’s adversaries;
  • Electromagnetic incidents caused by an intentional EMP attack, or naturally-occurring geomagnetic disturbances, while unlikely, could cause serious damage to the nation’s critical infrastructure, including the electric grid, communications equipment, and transportation capabilities;
  • While the strategy is primarily focused on DHS activities, it recognizes the importance of continued close collaboration with federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial decision-makers, sector-specific agencies, and private sector critical infrastructure owner-operators;
  • To view a copy of the report, please click here.

FEMA Releases Revised Flood Insurance Manual

  • Last week, FEMA released the new Flood Insurance Manual (FIM) which is retroactively effective as of October 1;
  • The revised FIM is intended to streamline the application process, as well as make it easier to understand the flood insurance process;
  • This revised version of the FIM does not change flood insurance coverage or supersede the terms and conditions of the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP);
  • To view the manual, as well as for additional information, please click here.

FEMA Webinars on the National Response Framework

  • FEMA has four webinars scheduled to share updates to the National Response Framework (NRF);
  • The NRF, first released in 2008, provides a guide for how our nation responds to all types of disasters and emergencies;
  • This edition of the NRF will include lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane and wildfire season;
  • For more details, including registration information, please click here.

DHS OIA Fellows Program Application Period Open

  • The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA) Fellows Program is now accepting applications from state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) partners;
  • Fellows will be expected to collaborate with their federal counterparts and SLTT customers, through participation in a variety of intelligence functions, including, but not limited to, intelligence collection, analysis, and production activities;
  • For additional information, including on how to apply, please click here.


ON THE HORIZON

  • October 18, at 10:18 am local time, FEMA is scheduled to conduct the 2018 Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill – for more information, please click here;
  • October 18, at 1:00 pm ET, DHS is scheduled to conduct a webinar titled, “Connecting Emergency Management Agencies and Water Utilities” – for more information, please click here.

 

 

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APWA – Washington Report – October 1, 2018

October 1, 2018                                     Share:

Please be sure to follow APWA Government Affairs on Twitter @APWAGovAffairs.

LATEST NEWS

FY 2019 Appropriations Update

  • For the federal government, fiscal year (FY) 2019 officially begins today, and over the weekend President Trump signed a bill (H.R. 6157) funding the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education;
  • To date, in addition to the departments included in H.R. 6157, President Trump has signed FY 2019 appropriations to fund Energy and Water, the Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs;
  • Additionally, H.R. 6157 includes $8.8 billion in Disaster Relief funding to assist in recovery efforts following Hurricane Florence;
  • The remaining federal government departments, whose FY 2019 appropriations have not been passed by Congress, will be funded at FY 2018 levels through December 7, 2018 by a continuing resolution (CR) included in H.R. 6157;
  • The CR allows additional time for spending negotiations following the November 6 mid-term election;
  • The Senate is in session this week, while the House is not scheduled to be in session again until November 13.

FAA Reauthorization Update

  • Last week, the House passed a five-year reauthorization (H.R. 302) for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA);
  • The Senate is expected to vote on the measure late today, and should the bill pass, it will fund the FAA for five years, through 2023;
  • In addition to reauthorizing the FAA, both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Transportation Security Administration will be reauthorized as part of the measure;
  • Funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which issues grants to public use airports of all sizes for planning and development purposes, is also part of the bill;
  • Clarifying language regarding unmanned aircraft systems (drones), depending on the size of the drone and its intended purpose, is included;
  • Mitigation language is also part of H.R. 302 and it is intended to reform the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Stafford Act by ensuring a percentage of assistance, provided in the wake of disasters, is invested in pre-disaster hazard mitigation, while also defining what may be eligible for mitigation funding;
  • This language was originally passed by the House earlier this year, in the form of H.R. 4460, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA);
  • The DRRA encourages state, local, tribal and territorial governments to place emphasis on mitigation, and would require FEMA to work with the Federal Highway Administration to develop guidelines for evacuation routes;
  • The measure also addresses disasters, eligibility for disasters and greater scrutiny of agency adherence to mitigation and pre-disaster grant guidelines;
  • For additional specific details on the FAA reauthorization, please click here.

Senate Committee Pushes on PFAS

  • Last week, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS);
  • PFAS are a toxic group of industrial chemicals used in a wide variety of products, including firefighting foam and nonstick products;
  • At the hearing, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water Director Peter Grevatt said EPA won’t decide on regulating PFAS until the end of 2018;
  • Previously, a bipartisan group of House members introduced the “PFAS Federal Facility Accountability Act of 2018”;
  • In 2016, EPA issued a lifetime health advisory (LHA) of 70 parts per trillion (PPT) for the PFAS chemicals perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA);
  • However, these LHA’s are not enforceable, and have been criticized as being dangerously high.

DOT Awards $205 Million in Funding for Airport Infrastructure

  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao announced late last week, $205 million has been awarded for airport infrastructure projects:
  • The awards, under the Airport Improvement Program, will provide funding for projects at 37 (mostly rural) agencies, to make improvements to runway construction and rehabilitation, the maintenance of terminals, aprons and taxiways;
  • For additional information, please click here.

WOTUS Opponents Try Again for Nationwide Freeze

  • Last week, a collection of groups led by the American Farm Bureau, asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to expand an injunction into a nationwide freeze of the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule;
  • Because of an earlier court decision, the 2015 rule is now in effect in 22 states;
  • However, due to injunctions in district courts in North Dakota and Georgia, the 2015 rule will not be in effect in the remaining states;
  • A new proposed rule was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget in June 2018 for review;
  • That review is currently taking place at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs;
  • The latest regulatory agenda published by the Trump Administration, anticipates the publication of a proposed WOTUS rule in the Federal Register this month, with a final rule by November 2019;
  • In September 2017, APWA submitted comments to the EPA and the Corps on the need for clarity in the WOTUS rule.

FEMA Releases NIMS NQS Skillsets

  • Last week, the National Incident Management System released its third edition of the National Qualification System (NQS) which shares details on multiple Emergency Operations Center (EOC) structures and their functions;
  • The NQS Skillsets are designed to provide EOC leaders with tools to build position qualifications according to their specific organization’s needs and resources, while building a national vocabulary for EOC personnel qualifications;
  • For additional information, please click here.

NIST Seeking Comments on Internet of Things Guide

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking comments on its recently released report titled “Considerations for Managing Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity and Privacy Risks”;
  • The report is designed to serve as the foundation for a planned series of publications on how to manage cybersecurity and privacy risks associated with IoT devices;
  • NIST is accepting public comments through October 24;
  • For additional information on the report, including how to submit comments, please click here.

FEMA and FCC to Hold Nationwide Emergency Alert Test Wednesday

  • On October 3, FEMA and the Federal Communication Commission will conduct a test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS);
  • The test was originally scheduled for September 20, but was postponed due to severe weather across much of the east coast;
  • IPAWS is a national system that provides authenticated emergency alerts and information from emergency officials to the public via television, radio, cell phones and the Internet;
  • The Wireless Emergency Alert segment of the test will take place at 2:18 pm ET;
  • The Emergency Alert System segment will be conducted at 2:20 pm ET;
  • For additional information, please click here.

Senate Committee Advances Nomination of FEMA Deputy Administrator

  • Last week, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs voted to approve the nomination of Mr. Peter Gaynor, to serve as FEMA Deputy Administrator;
  • The full Senate has not yet set a date to take up the nomination.

Lead in Drinking Water a Focus of Federal Government

  • Last week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report regarding identifying lead service lines;
  • The GAO recommends that the Assistant Administrator for Water at EPA’s Office of Water should share information with all states about approaches used to identify and publicize information on lead service lines;
  • Additionally, a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives and Senators introduced legislation to protect families living in public housing from lead exposure;
  • Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Senator Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the “Get the Lead Out of Assisted Housing Act” of 2018;
  • The legislation would require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to inspect for lead service lines, as well as provide grants for testing, notification, and controlling for lead in drinking water;
  • APWA submitted comments to EPA on revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) earlier this year.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

  • Throughout the month of October, federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will highlight cybersecurity awareness;
  • For additional information, please click here.

DHS Hosting Webinar on Infrastructure Network Protection

  • On October 2 and October 4, from 1:00 pm-2:30 pm ET, DHS’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team is scheduled to conduct a webinar titled “Protecting Enterprise Network Infrastructure Devices”;
  • The webinar will include input and discussion from DHS representatives on identified threats to the infrastructure network;
  • For additional information, including registration details, please click here.

FEMA Hosting Webinar on Hazard Mitigation and Resilience

  • On October 9 at 1:00 pm ET, FEMA, in conjunction with the American Planning Association and the Association of State Flood Plain Managers, will host a webinar on hazard mitigation and resilience;
  • The webinar will bring together national experts to discuss the scope of current research into disasters, hazard mitigation and resilience, while also examining potential future ramifications;
  • For additional information, including registration details, please click here.


ON THE HORIZON

  • October 3, at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation has scheduled a hearing on the implementation of Positive Train Control – click here for more information;
  • October 3, at 2:15 pm ET, the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management & Regulatory Oversight has scheduled a hearing on the oversight of EPA’s implementation of sound and transparent science in regulation – click here for more information;
  • October 4, at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation has scheduled a hearing titled, “Broadband: Opportunities and Challenges in Rural America” – click here for more information.
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APWA – Deadline Extended: Submit your 2019 Snow Conference presentations by Sept. 28

Deadline Extended: Submit your 2019 Snow Conference presentations by Sept. 28

APWA needs you – share your knowledge, experience and vision for the future!

Each year, the APWA North American Snow Conference provides education and solutions for public works snowfighters and those that support them. This highly-anticipated annual conference provides opportunities for more than 40 education sessions, technical tours and a variety of opportunities for collaboration and networking.

Speakers are public works professionals, just like you, who are eager to help their public works colleagues more successfully manage winter/snow operations, take advantage of emerging technologies, understand and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, and provide better service to their communities.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for speakers with new perspectives, solid best practices and/or innovative twists to the usual winter maintenance issues.

What kind of presentation can you create?

We encourage you to be creative in how you present your information. You could do a point-counterpoint discussion, or challenge the audience with a dare to ask session or interactive jam session. Click the button below to find out more and submit your presentation!

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APWA Washington Report – September 17, 2018

September 17, 2018

Please be sure to follow APWA Government Affairs on Twitter @APWAGovAffairs.

LATEST NEWS

Congress Moves Forward on FY 2019 Appropriations

  • The House is not in session this week, but the Senate is, and will continue moving forward on fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations;
  • Last week, agreement was reached on the first (H.R. 5895) of three expected FY 2019 “minibus” appropriations packages;
  • President Trump has indicated his approval of H.R. 5895, which includes funding for Energy-Water, the Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs;
  • The next minibus expected to be passed before September 30 (the end of FY 2018), is H.R. 6157 which includes funding for the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education;
  • Also included in H.R. 6157, is language to extend funding for the federal government through December 7, 2018, to allow additional time following the November 6 midterm elections to work out remaining FY 2019 funding needs;
  • Within the Energy-Water bill, language that would have repealed the 2015 “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule was stripped out;
  • However, there has been uncertainty surrounding the “minibus” that combines Interior-EPA, Agriculture, Transportation-Housing, and Financial Services;
  • There are disagreements over roughly 20 House-backed environmental provisions that are being negotiated;
  • If agreement cannot be reached on those bills by September 30, they will be level-funded under the stopgap agreement;
  • The bills that will automatically be included under the stopgap measure are Commerce-Justice-Science, State-Foreign Operations, and Homeland Security.

House Passes Water Infrastructure Legislation

  • Last week, the House voted unanimously to pass S. 3021, “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018”;
  • S. 3021 includes bipartisan elements of bills passed by various Congressional committees;
  • Included in the legislation are the Secure Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act, and other elements related to water infrastructure;
  • In addition to these two elements, which APWA has advocated for during the 115th Congress, the following items are included in the legislation:
    • Clean, safe, reliable water infrastructure (Sec. 2002);
    • Study on intractable water systems (Sec. 2003);
    • Drinking water infrastructure resilience and sustainability (Sec. 2005);
    • Asset management (Sec. 2012);
    • Community water system risk and resilience (Sec. 2013);
    • Authorization for grants for state programs (Sec. 2014);
    • State revolving loan funds (Sec. 2015);
    • Report on Federal cross-cutting requirements (Sec. 2019);
    • Stormwater infrastructure funding task force (Sec. 4101);
    • Sewer overflow control grants (Sec. 4106);
    • Reauthorization of the WIFIA program (Sec. 4201); and
    • Water infrastructure and workforce investment (Sec. 4304);
  • The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to be approved by unanimous consent prior to the November midterm elections;
  • To read APWA’s letter of support for the legislation, please visit our website.

Senate Committee Hearing Examines Emerging Technologies in Transportation

  • On September 13, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing focused on emerging technologies in transportation;
  • Four witnesses, representing both the public and private sectors, spoke about developing and future technologies’ impact on transportation;
  • Increased safety, decreased congestion, public and private sector partnering, and the need for government support for collaboration were touted by all the panelists during the hearing;
  • Additionally, much like the hearing held the previous week by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and highlighted in the September 10 APWA Washington Report, technology is pushing forward even if public sentiment and government regulation is not keeping pace;
  • To view the archived Senate Commerce hearing, please click here.

IPAWS Emergency Alert System Test Postponed

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) were scheduled to conduct a test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) this week, however due to ongoing severe weather across much of the east coast, the test has been postponed to October 3;
  • IPAWS is a national system that provides authenticated emergency alerts and information from emergency officials to the public via television, radio, cell phones and the internet;
  • This will be the fourth national Emergency Alert System (EAS) test, and the first national Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) test;
  • The EAS is a national warning system which provides the President with the ability to send communications directly to the nation during a national emergency;
  • The test message will appear as “THIS IS A TEST”;
  • The WEA test will take place at 2:18 pm ET, while the EAS portion will be conducted at 2:20 pm ET;
  • For additional information, please click here.

House Passes Measure to Formally Establish New DHS Division

  • Last week, the House passed H.R. 6198, the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2018, which was introduced by Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY);
  • H.R. 6198 would codify the establishment of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS);
  • DHS announced the creation of the CWMD in December 2017, which would replace DHS’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and Office of Health Affairs (OHA);
  • CWMD would be led by an Assistant Secretary to be appointed by the President;
  • Among the responsibilities of the Assistant Secretary would be to establish the Securing the Cities (STC) program;
  • The STC would enhance the ability of the United States to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, and other high consequence events utilizing nuclear or other radiological materials that pose a high risk to homeland security in high-risk urban areas;
  • The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration;
  • To view text of the bill, please click here.

APWA Executive Director Meets with USGS

  • Last week, APWA Executive Director Scott Grayson met with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Associate Director for Natural Hazards Dr. David Applegate;
  • Discussions centered around how APWA and USGS can expand our working relationship, particularly as it pertains to sharing early-warning tools such as mapping and notification systems.


ON THE HORIZON

  • September 20, at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources is scheduled to hold a hearing to examine the process of returning energy to the power grid after a system-wide blackout – click here for more information;

September 20, at 2:30 pm ET the Senate Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity is scheduled to hold a closed hearing titled “Interagency Coordination in the Protection of Critical Infrastructure” – click here for more information.