> Testimony & Commentary
Testimony & Commentary
WESTCAS utilizes its Legislative, Regulatory, and Policy Committees for the review of legislation and the preparation of testimony and commentary regarding proposed water-related issues. Examples are shown below. WESTCAS is the Voice of Water Quality in the arid west, and thus WESTCAS strives to be a reliable source of information about water issues to our members and the public.
WESTCAS President, Steve Bigley, sends a letter to Senator Murkowski and Cantwell in support of the nomination of Brenda Burman to become the Commissioner of Reclamation and urges her confirmation.
WESTCAS President, Kelly Collins, sends letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt regarding Water Resources in Arid States.
Chris Treese, External Affairs Manager from the Colorado River Water Conservation District (CRWCD), was asked to testify before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on behalf of one of our partner associations, NWRA, regarding the need for water infrastructure improvement, expansion and funding. The CRWCD has been a long-time member of WESTCAS, and Mr. Treese previously served on the WESTCAS Board of Directors. Currently Mike Eytel, WESTCAS Vice President, is also with CRWCD and serves as its Water Resources Specialist.
WESTCAS President, Kelly Collins, sends letter regarding WESTCAS' continued support for the Coalition to Promote Water Conservation.
WESTCAS President, Kelly Collins, sends letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies regarding the water data and science program funding in the Interior Department Appropriations for FY-2018
Andy Colosimo, Government and Corporate Affairs Manager of Colorado Springs Utilities, testified before the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. Colorado Springs Utilities has been a long-time member of WESTCAS, and we appreciate their continued support! See brief article below or view at: naturalresources.house.gov/newsroom/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=401643
WESTCAS President, Kelly Collins, sends letter to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding Comments on Selenium Criteria Implementation Guidance Documents (EPA-F-820-16-007, EPA-F-820-16-008, EPA-F-820-16-009, EPA-F-820-16-010) stating the WESTCAS position on this matter.
The attached legislation (see SEC 4009 (c), page 22) was signed and allows eligible applicants with an approved feasibility study to apply for construction funding in 2018 (at the earliest) under the Title XVI Program. This legislation is great news for those who do not have a Title XVI authorization. The Bureau of Reclamation is in the process of creating the required guidelines and are updating the scoring criteria to include priorities with drought monitoring or disaster areas.
WESTCAS President, Kelly Collins, sends letter to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding Draft Guidance for Conducting Fish Consumption Surveys, No. EPA-HQ-OW-2016-0419 stating the WESTCAS position on this matter.
WESTCAS President, Kelly Collins, and California Association of Sanitation Agencies Executive Director, Roberta L. Larson send letter to Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chair, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Ranking Member, of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources regarding a markup on the California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act (S.2533).
On March 10, 2016 Kelly Collins, WESTCAS President, signed onto a CPWC letter supporting H. R. 4615, the Water Conservation Tax Parity Act.
December 11, 2015 - By a vote of the WESTCAS Board of Directors, Kelly Collins, WESTCAS President signed onto several letters to members of Congress requesting that water conservation subsidies be excluded from gross income of recipients. While Section 136 of the Internal Revenue Code exempts energy conservation subsidies from inclusion in gross income, there is no similar express exemption for water conservation measures and storm water management.
WESTCAS D.C. Fly-In, April 18-19, 2012: Funding Water Resources Infrastructure:
New Challenges/New Ideas
The 2012 WESTCAS DC Fly-In is now history. Attached for your information, is the WESTCAS White Paper distributed when making the rounds on Capitol Hill, in Federal agencies, and with stakeholder groups. The three-tiered approach of the White Paper addressed the regular appropriations cycle, innovative new concepts for funding, and how regulations impact the cost of infrastructure provided a good basis for discussion for all of our meetings.
WESTCAS thanks Ed Curley, Wayne Owen, Larry Libeu, Randy Kirkpatrick, and Mike Eytel for participating in this fly-in. Additionally, WESTCAS thanks all of its members for so generously sharing their thoughts and suggestions both during the Phoenix Fly-In in February and also via email with the Hicks-Ray Associates team. Both Tom Ray and Fred Hicks will be developing a detailed report on all that was learned during the Fly-In on an office-by-office and agency-by-agency basis. In the meantime, here are some suggestions regarding our White Paper and the Fly-In meetings:
- The WESTCAS White Paper should be considered a living document with the current version no more than an initial starting point. The White Paper must evolve along with the water resources infrastructure issue itself.
- Although the importance of water infrastructure cannot be over-stated, there is still much work to be done before the public and the Congress fully grasp what is at stake.
- It is vital for organizations such as WESTCAS to interact with the Federal community, sharing both the realities of your local challenges and how its members are addressing them.
The expertise of the WESTCAS membership was very much on display both in the creation of the White Paper and during the meeting in D. C. The challenge is to now take what was learned and make it a dynamic part of the ongoing WESTCAS agenda.
Letter from Nancy Stoner, EPA, on August 19, 2011, as a reply to the WESTCAS coalition letter to the EPA on July 21, 2011, requesting NOI Withdrawal.
On Tuesday, August 2nd, WESTCAS along with 28 national, state, and regional organizations sent the attached letter regarding numeric nutrient criteria to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson and copied EPA Office of Water's Acting Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner. The letter affirms the municipal clean water community's dedication to addressing nutrient-related impacts but highlights key concerns with U.S. EPA's current approach for developing water quality criteria for nitrogen and phosphorus.
On July 29, 2011, WESTCAS sent the attached letter with comments to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers regarding Draft Guidance of Identification of Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act.
On July 21, 2011, WESTCAS, along with several other water agencies, sent a letter to the EPA Office of Water regarding WaterSense Notification of Intent to Develop Efficiency and Performance Specifications for Residential Cation Exchange Water Softeners.
WESTCAS letter to the Honorable Nancy Sutley, Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality Supporting National Research Council Comments on P & G
WESTCAS letter sent to Mr. Pete Silva, Assistant Administrator, Office of Water, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency addressing members' concerns regarding the Petition for Rulemaking on Secondary Treatment Standards for Nutrient Removal
WESTCAS letter sent to the Honorable Nancy Sutley, Chair, Council on Environmental Quality regarding Principles and Guidelines
WESTCAS letter sent to the Honorable Ciro Rodriguez supporting HR 4719 to amend the Southwest Region Border Task Force - July 7, 2010
WESTCAS letter sent to the Honorable Grace Napolitano supporting HR 5487 to amend the Water Resources and Research Act of 1984
WESTCAS letter sent to the EPA with comments regarding Water Quality Standards for the State of Florida's Lakes and Flowing Rivers Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
WESTCAS letter to Mr. Terry Breyman, Council on Environmental Quality, regarding comments on December 3, 2009 "Proposed National Objectives, Principles and Standards for Water and Related Resources Implementation Studies"
On March 19, 2010 the Board of Directors of WESTCAS unanimously passed a Resolution calling upon both the Executive and Legislative branches of government to involve the public and local governments in all water policy legislation.
WESTCAS provides comments to California EPA on the Draft Public Health Goal (PHG) for hexavalent chromium in California drinking water
WESTCAS letter sent to Secretary Ken Salazar urging at least $1.2 billion for Reclamation and at least $100 for title XVI in FY 2011
WESTCAS Letter to Ken Salazar Requesting Release of Title XVI Funds
WESTCAS Letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
WESTCAS sends letter to Senator Bingaman supporting the nomination of Michael Connor as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation
WESTCAS supports S 22 Omnibus Public Lands Act with joint letter
WESTCAS has provided a letter of support and project list to the 111th Congress regarding the inclusion of water and wastewater infrastructure funding in the pending Stimulus legislation.
WESTCAS submits comments regarding the EPA Climate Strategy.
WESTCAS submits comments on April 29, 2008, to Chairman Oberstar regarding HR 2421 concerning amendments to the Clean Water Act.
WESTAS submits testimony regarding the FY 09 Environmental Protection Agency Budget on April 25, 2008.
WESTCAS submits testimony regarding the FY 09 Budget for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
WESTCAS provided comments to EPA regarding the proposed Clean Water Act Guidance to implement the U.S. Supreme Court Decision for Rapanos and Carabel Cases (Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW-2007-0282).
WESTCAS joins AMWA, WEF, and NACWA in writing a letter on January 8, 2008, to EPA urging a National Water Program Strategy on Climate Change.
WESTCAS submitted testimony for the record regarding S 2156 "The Science and Engineering to Comprehensively Understand and Responsibly Enhance Water Act (SECURE) before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
WESTCAS provides testimony on the 35th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on "The Status of the Nations' Waters Including Wetlands, Under the Jurisdiction of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act,"
WESTCAS supports increased federal funding for water reclamation/reuse Title XVI to assist in addressing the serious drought conditions throughout the Reclamation states. See the following testimony for details.
WESTCAS is concerned about the ongoing reductions in the USGS budgets in light of major changes in the Arid West due to global warming and natural disasters. WESTCAS stresses the need for USGS scientific data and analyses to support water resource management. See the following testimony for details.
WESTCAS supports increased funding for EPA's State Revolving Loan funding programs for water and wastewater; water quality research; and State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG). See the following testimony for details.
WESTCAS supports increased funding for the FY08 USDA budget and FY07 Farm Bill regarding conservation programs and rural development in order to protect water quality and water supplies in the arid west. See the following testimony for details.
WESTCAS supports increased funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, and the establishment of performance criteria which will ensure water resource projects are funded and completed within a timely manner. See the following testimony for details.
WESTCAS Asks That Arid West Water Issues Be Considered in the Development of Clean Water Infrastructure Legislation.
WESTCAS provides testimony regarding FY07 Civil Works Program of USACE Budget
WESTCAS provides testimony regarding FY07 USBR and Department of Energy Budgets
WESTCAS provides testimony regarding FY07 EPA Budget
WESTCAS provides testimony regarding USGS Budget Analysis 06
WESTCAS provides testimony regarding Fish and Wildlife Budget 2007
WESTCAS provides testimony regarding FY07 Department of Agriculture Budget
WESTCAS supports extending the authority for drought assistance via their support for an amendment to the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act of 1991.
Key Water Policy Documents
Key Legal Cases
On January 18, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit issued its decision in Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. EPA, No. 14-1823, (2nd Cir. Jan. 18, 2017). In its decision, the court of appeals ruled 2-1 in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) on the Water Transfers Rule. This decision reversed a previous decision from the Southern District of New York and reinstates EPA’s 2008 rule.
On June 13, 2008, EPA adopted the final Water Transfers Rule which excluded water transfers from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPEDS) program of the Clean Water Act. The complaint which resulted in the underlying case was filed 7 days later. The Water Transfers Rule, and its continued applicability, is highly important to western water providers who often rely on interbasin water transfers for irrigation, industrial and municipal uses.
In its January 18 decision, the majority, like the district court below, applied the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Chevron, U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 US 837 (1984). The Chevron case established a two-step framework for judicial review of agency actions. Step one of this analysis directs the court to ask whether Congress has directly spoke to the question at issue, if Congress has the agency is authorized in its action and the analysis is over. If, however, the statutory language is silent or ambiguous the court then proceeds to step two which asks whether the agency’s action is based on a permissible construction of the statute at issue. In analyzing the Water Transfers Rule under this test, the 2nd circuit found, “[a]t step one of the Chevron analysis, we conclude—as did the district court—that the Clean Water Act does not speak directly to the precise question of whether NPDES permits are required for water transfers, and that it is therefore necessary to proceed to Chevronʹs second step.” Under the second step, the court concluded—contrary to the district court—that the “Water Transfers Ruleʹs interpretation of the Clean Water Act is reasonable.” The 2nd Circuit viewed the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Transfers Rule “as precisely the sort of policymaking decision that the Supreme Court designed the Chevron framework to insulate from judicial second‐ (or third‐) guessing.” The 2nd Circuit reasoned that “[the Clean Water Act] does not require that water quality be improved by whatever the costs or means and the Rule preserves state authority over many aspects of water regulation, gives regulators flexibility to balance the need to improve water quality with the potentially high costs of compliance with an NPDES permitting program, and allows for several alternative means for regulating water transfers.” In the end, the ultimately concluded that because the Water Transfers Rule was a reasonable construction of the Clean Water Act, was supported by a reasoned explanation, and it therefore survived review under Chevron. As such, the district court decision was reversed and the Rule was reinstated.
It is unclear at this time, if an appeal is impending, but this decision may come before the United States Supreme Court in the future.
If you have any questions regarding this case, please contact WESTCAS members Scott Miller firstname.lastname@example.org
or Christopher R. Stork email@example.com