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March 24, 2009
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Government Relations

NAWC Hosts Successful Annual Congressional Fly-In

NAWC’s annual Congressional Fly-In was another big success with NAWC members hitting the halls of Congress. At the annual Fly-In, NAWC members come to Washington from all over the country to meet with elected officials, discuss issues of importance to NAWC and raise our industry’s profile.

A big showing at the Fly-In was a priority this year with all the changes in Congress. NAWC members reached out to many of the new Members of Congress, staff and new committee chairmen. Nearly 50 NAWC members made time in their busy schedules to take part in this important event.

The great turnout allowed us to schedule more than 200 meetings with elected officials representing every region of the country and sitting on virtually every committee of importance to NAWC and our members.

In addition to educating Congress on the private water service industry and our many services and abilities, several legislative issues of importance were discussed. Primarily, we discussed water infrastructure financing. NAWC members expressed general support for the State Revolving Loan Funds (SRF), but their discontent with the continued inequity that excludes private water service providers from the Clean Water SRF. NAWC members also discussed support for H.R. 537, a proposal by Rep. Pascrell (D-N.J.) that would bring water projects out from under the state volume cap on Private Activity Bonds.

Some key highlights include:

  • California members met with two-thirds of the California delegation including both Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and key House Chairman Waxman to discuss ways that private water service providers can help mitigate the dire water situation in California, and how Congress can help them do so.

  • A group of members from Maryland met with Senator Cardin’s office. This was a key meeting as Sen. Cardin has just taken over the chairmanship of a key subcommittee with drinking water and clean water jurisdiction.

  • Members from Idaho met with Senator Crapo’s office. This was also a key meeting as Sen. Crapo is now the Ranking Member of a key subcommittee with drinking water and clean water jurisdiction, and has a seat on the powerful Finance Committee.

  • NAWC members met with most of the new members of the House Ways and Means Committee to talk to them about tax solutions for infrastructure problems.

  • NAWC members that provide water and wastewater services to the constituents of members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee met with these Representatives to alert them to the inequity in H.R. 1262 that would preclude private water service providers from accessing the clean water state revolving loan funds (CW-SRF). These meetings were important to inform Members of Congress about how their taxpaying constituents are being cut off from the subsidies that other Americans receive from their government. Many of these Members of Congress were interested to learn how the CW-SRF would benefit their constituents.

NAWC has been holding a Congressional Fly-In for nearly 20 years, and plans for the 2010 Fly-In are already underway.


Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Learning Series Announced

Sponsored by the Office of Infrastructure Protection, the Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources Learning Series consist of one hour Web-based seminars on current topics and issues of interest to owners and operators of the nation's Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources.

This important series is designed to provide the tools, latest trends, issues and best practices in the infrastructure protection arena. Designed for owners and operators, as well as key government stakeholders, the Webinars provide practical ideas for implementing infrastructure protection protocols.

The audience for these seminars includes, but is not limited to: security, operations, facilities, systems and financial or risk managers; emergency management professionals; and others engaged in implementing infrastructure protection and resilience activities.

The upcoming series includes the following topics:

  • Engaged Partnership for Disaster Response - April 22, 2009
  • Infrastructure Risk Analysis and Information Sharing Capabilities - May 20, 2009

Click here for more information on the series.


Sen. Durbin Introduces World Water Act

Following up on his 2005 Water for the Poor Act, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has introduced the “Paul Simon Water for the World Act,” S. 624.

This bill seeks to:

  • Target underdeveloped countries with focused initiatives to improve access to clean water and sanitation;

  • Foster global cooperation on research and technology development, including regional partnerships among experts on clean water;

  • Provide technical assistance and capacity-building to develop expertise within countries facing water and sanitation challenges; and

  • Provide seed money for the deployment of clean water and sanitation technologies.
    In a statement, Sen. Durbin said, “Water access is no longer simply a global health and development issue; it is a mortal and long-term threat that is increasingly becoming a national security issue. The United States needs to do much more to ensure that global water access is protected and expanded.”

Durbin’s bill is cosponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.). A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Donald Payne (D-N.J.).