President Biden recently signed the Flood Level, Observation, Operations, and Decision Support Act (FLOODS Act), codifying an important leadership and management tool that helped modernize federal water policy in the United States. In 2018 a “federal water sub-cabinet” was informally established to coordinate water policy across the major federal agencies responsible for developing, managing, funding, regulating, and researching water resources in the United States. The original members included senior water officials within the Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Energy, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The subcabinet was formally established in October 2020 under Executive Order 13956, “Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure.”

Continue Reading Federal Water Policy Coordination Codified

Following its March 2022 proposal to uplist the northern long-eared bat (NLEB) to endangered status, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS or Service) finalized the proposal on November 30, 2022.  As of January 30, 2023, new protections for the NLEB take effect.  In addition, the agency proposed to list the tricolored bat as endangered on September 14, 2022. FWS has also indicated that it expects to issue a proposed listing decision regarding the little brown bat this summer.

Continue Reading FWS Finalizes NLEB Uplisting and Advances Tricolored Bat Listing

Better late than never, but on January 4, EPA published its Fall 2022 Unified Regulatory Agenda. The Reg Agenda includes a few new rulemaking initiatives and a number of schedule changes that were largely expected since EPA has been running a few months behind on most of their major rulemakings (e.g., WOTUS, 401 Water Quality Certification, Steam Electric ELG, Lead and Copper Rule Improvements).

Continue Reading Steam Electric ELG Surprise in EPA’s Fall Regulatory Agenda

2022 was a busy year for air quality and climate change policy, and 2023 promises to be no different. See below for a list of high-profile actions expected from EPA this year, along with a few you might not have on your radar screen.

Continue Reading 2023 Air Quality and Climate Regulation Watch List

John Goodin takes a break from his recent retirement to share invaluable insights with Dave and Anna from his 32-year career in EPA’s Office of Water. John talks about the long-running “waters of the United States” rulemaking, provides an insider’s perspective on federal decision-making, and connects his passion for travel with EPA’s mission to restore and protect our nation’s waters.

Continue Reading H2-OWOW! – A Reflective Conversation with John Goodin, Former Director of EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds

Yesterday, EPA announced a proposed rule that would revise the agency’s regulations to include a requirement that water quality standards protect reserved tribal treaty rights. This proposal is a major milestone for the agency that has tried to incorporate reserved tribal treaty rights into its water quality standards program since at least 2015.

Continue Reading EPA Proposes Water Quality Standards Revisions Requiring Consideration of Tribal Treaty Rights

On November 17, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that $38 million in grant funding is available in fiscal year 2023 for fish passage projects. The goal is to award this funding to projects that address outdated, unsafe, or obsolete dams, culverts, levees, and other barriers. This funding effort is part of an overall $200 million commitment set out in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and is part of the National Fish Passage Program (NFPP). The NFPP is a voluntary program that provides direct technical and financial assistance for restoration of aquatic organism passage and aquatic connectivity.

Continue Reading Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Funding Grants for Fish Passage

On October 28, the EPA published the Final Fifth Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the EPA is required to publish a new Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) every five years. The CCL contains a list of contaminants that are currently not subject to any national primary drinking water regulations but are anticipated to occur in public water systems and may require regulation.

Continue Reading EPA Publishes Final Fifth Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List (CCL)

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection posted interim soil remediation standards for several per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (collectively PFAS) to include perfluoro nonanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluoro octane sulfonate (PFOS), and hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt (GenX). Posted in the October 17 NJ Register, the interim standards pertain to the direct contact and migration to groundwater exposure paths, and apply immediately.

Continue Reading NJDEP Interim PFAS Soil Remediation Standards