July 1, 2011

Senate Cancels July Fourth Recess To Debate Debt Ceiling Vote

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) canceled the Senate’s Fourth of July recess to allow Senators additional time to debate how to reduce the federal deficit and raise the national debt ceiling. The House will also return next week to work on the debt ceiling and continue deficit negotiations with President Obama.

Senators Request CWA Guidance Withdrawal

Forty one Republican Senators sent a letter to EPA Administrator Jackson and Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, critical of the draft Clean Water Act guidance.  “This guidance has clear regulatory consequences and goes beyond being simply advisory guidelines,” the Senators wrote on June 30.  “We respectfully request you abandon any further action on this guidance document.”

To read the full text of the letter click on the link below.

CFATs Extension Bills Advance in House and Senate

The House Homeland Security Committee approved a bill extending the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility-Anti Terrorism Standards program for the next seven years, HR 901, by voice vote on June 22.  This DHS program does not cover security at drinking water and wastewater facilities.  The bill now moves to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration.  However, that committee already approved its own version of a CFATS extension bill, HR 908, on May 26.  HR 908 also does not cover security at water facilities.

Senate Hold Placed on Aquatic Pesticides Bill

The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee passed HR 872, exempting pesticide users who spray over water from obtaining a Clean Water Act permit, on June 21.  The Committee rapidly approved the legislation by voice vote in a business meeting held just off the Senate floor.

EPA Nutrient Standards Subject of House Hearing

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing on EPA’s Nutrient Standards on June 24. The subcommittee heard testimony from Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for Water at EPA, as well as testimony from several state regulators.

Deadline Extended for Comments on Clean Water Act Guidance

The deadline for comments on the Draft Clean Water Act Guidance issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S Army Corps of Engineers has been extended by 30 days.

ACWA members are urged to submit comments by July 31 on the draft.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Passes Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act

HR 2018, a bipartisan bill introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) and Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), passed out of the committee today, June 22, by a vote of 35-19.

Chairman Mica said, “H.R. 2018 restores the historic and balanced partnership between EPA and the states in regulating our nation’s waters. We must ensure that EPA works with the states, not in spite of them, in setting reasonable, sound water quality standards.”