A New Administration With New Opportunities
The recent presidential election has resulted in total Republican control of the federal government for the first time since 2006. There will be significant impacts to public works in the coming years. One of the first targets of the incoming Trump administration and congressional Republicans will be the recent ‘Waters of the US’ (WOTUS) rule. This rule defines what is and is not under federal jurisdiction. Some ditches, and other flood control features that previously were outside federal jurisdiction, and only required permits from the states, may now have to work through the Army Corps of Engineers and the Fish and Wildlife Service as well as other agencies for the necessary permitting under the Clean Water Act. These permits could add years and millions of dollars in cost. Stayed by the 6th Circuit Court, it is unlikely it will be reviewed by the Supreme Court before Donald Trump assumes the presidency. With both the House of Representatives and Senate passing bills to stop WOTUS, it is likely they will do so again in the new year, but this time with a receptive president.
President-elect Trump has been quite outspoken about his view that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has caused harm to the economy. Mr. Trump has said he would eliminate the agency in order to save taxpayer dollars. The EPA has issued over 3,900 rules since the start of the Obama administration. It is likely that we will see a smaller output of regulations, and many will reduce the regulatory burden for local governments. The upcoming change in policymakers is an opportunity for APWA to advocate reforming a wide variety of environmental laws impacting public works and therefore, save taxpayer dollars, while protecting the environment.
The new administration has also started filling the nearly 4,000 politically appointed jobs within the federal government, and there are a few environmental positions which impact public works. The key position is EPA Administrator. Currently, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is emerging as the lead contender to head up the EPA. Also of importance is the Department of the Interior, which includes the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and Fish and Wildlife Service. Among possible appointees are Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, and Lucas Oil Founder Forrest Lucas.
APWA’s Government Affairs team stands ready to work with whomever assumes these key positions within the Executive Branch. APWA is committed to being a primary resource to the incoming Congress and new Administration to help address our nation’s infrastructure challenges.
APWA Government Affairs
APWA Legislative Action Center