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October 20, 2009

  State Regulatory Relations  
  Government Relations  
  Member News  

Government Relations

Hearing Held on Clean Water Act Enforcement, EPA Unveils Enforcement Plan

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing on “The Clean Water Act after 37 Years: Recommitting to the Protection of the Nation’s Waters.” Committee Chairman Oberstar (D-MN), an originator of the Clean Water Act, commemorates the anniversary of this landmark legislation annually.

A recent New York Times article, “Toxic Waters: Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering,” was discussed at the hearing. The article investigated the steady rise in violations of the Clean Water Act and the lack of EPA prosecution. The New York Times said that fewer than 3 percent of Clean Water Act violations resulted in fines or other significant punishments by state officials.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson provided testimony for the committee and unveiled a Clean Water Act Enforcement Plan intended to revamp the compliance and enforcement program, found here.

The goals of the EPA plan are to target enforcement of the most significant pollution problems, improve transparency and accountability by providing the public with access to better data on water quality, and strengthen enforcement performance at the state and federal levels. Elements of the plan include:

  • Development of more comprehensive approaches to ensure enforcement is targeted to the most serious violations and the most significant sources of pollution;
  • Working with states to ensure greater consistency throughout the country with respect to compliance and water quality. Also, ensuring that states are issuing protective permits and taking enforcement to achieve compliance and remove economic incentives to violate the law.
  • Using 21st century information technology to collect, analyze and use information in new, more efficient ways, and making that information readily accessible to the public. Better tools will help federal and state regulators identify serious compliance problems quickly and take prompt actions to correct them.


2009 Water Security Reporting Process Reaches Half-Way Point – Please Participate

Voluntary reporting for the second round of water sector–specific security metrics, which began on Sept. 22, is now mid-way through the 2009 process. This critical reporting tool helps track and communicate progress toward increased security and resilience in the water sector. Utilities that have not done so already are encouraged to complete the process. The success of the initiative will, in large measure, be a function of the number of utilities that participate.

To participate, please visit the WaterISAC public Web site and follow the instructions for providing information on the measures. It should take approximately 20–30 minutes to complete the process; afterward you may be eligible for a free “Pro” level subscription to WaterISAC. All responses are confidential and participation is completely anonymous. The reporting tool will be available until Oct. 30.

For questions or additional information, please contact Vance Taylor.


H1N1 Flu "Town Hall" Webinar

WaterISAC will host a town-hall style webinar on the H1N1 influenza (swine flu) outbreak in collaboration with a panel of experts from across the federal government, including DHS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The panel will briefly outline the status of the outbreak as well as mitigation and protection options. The remaining time will then be devoted to a question-and-answer session that allows WaterISAC subscribers to ask the experts questions relating to inoculations, absenteeism, business continuity and any other flu-related issues.

This webinar will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and is open to all WaterISAC subscribers. Please encourage your colleagues to attend the webinar!

To register for the webinar, please click here.