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
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
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
HDR Utility Services Director Trent Stober joins Dave and Anna to close out their PFAS miniseries, focusing on the real-world application of regulatory developments in the water sector. Trent provides perspective on how engineering consultants advise their water and wastewater utility customers on risk management, integrated planning, and other response strategies to the developing PFAS regulatory framework.Continue Reading PFAS in Focus: Forever-Engineering With Trent Stober, HDR
Dave Ross and Anna Wildeman provide high-level reactions to the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the Sackett v. EPA case, the latest legal battle in a long-running dispute over the meaning of the phrase “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. They discuss the Court’s surprising focus on a little-known parenthetical in the section 404 program, EPA’s potential reactions to the arguments, and whether anyone can reasonably predict the outcome of the case in what may be the most closely watched environmental decision of the current term.Continue Reading Reflections on Sackett
Anna and Dave continue their Missouri Water Seminar PFAS miniseries with Assistant Director of Engineering-Environmental Compliance Jay Hoskins of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District. Jay, Anna, and Dave discuss integrated planning, source control, rate setting, and risk communication in a rapidly changing regulatory environment.Continue Reading PFAS in Focus: Wastewater Utility Perspectives From Jay Hoskins, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
The Biden administration has enormous climate and carbon management goals, which rightfully include the geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide as a core part of its climate adaptation strategy. The administration, to its credit, has worked with Congress to provide tax credits and billions of dollars of new funding for programs targeting the transportation and sequestration of carbon, but without equal commitment to the regulatory side of the house, the administration’s ambitious goals are at risk.
Continue Reading EPA UIC Class VI Program Administration Creates Potential Weak Link in Climate Adaptation Strategy
Dave and Anna kick off a PFAS podcast series taped on location at the Missouri Water Seminar to provide an on-the-ground perspective of how state and local governments are dealing with the emerging regulatory framework for PFAS. Our first guest — Water Program Director Chris Wieberg of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources — explains how the “Show-Me” state uses data collection, collaboration, and risk communication to advance PFAS regulatory and management efforts statewide.
Continue Reading PFAS in Focus: Show-Me Insights From Chris Wieberg, Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Administrator Regan signed a proposed rule to designate two of the most widely studied per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The proposed designation for PFOA and PFOS, if and when finalized, would provide EPA with powerful new tools to clean up existing contamination in hot spots across the country, while seeking to hold those responsible for the releases financially accountable. The designation would also increase EPA’s reporting and information gathering authorities as the agency continues to build its database of PFAS contamination.
Continue Reading First Major CERCLA Move for PFAS