APWA Washington Report
November 30, 2020


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LATEST NEWS


FY 2021 Appropriations Update – Continuing Resolution Expires December 11, 2020

  • Before the election, a continuing resolution (CR) was signed into law to keep the federal government fully operational through December 11, 2020;
  • Reportedly, and just prior to Thanksgiving, an agreement was reached between the Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, Richard Shelby (R-AL) and House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) on fiscal year (FY) 2021 overall appropriations funding levels;
  • If a deal on an overall $1.4 trillion FY 2021 appropriations package moves forward, Congress should be able to complete its work before the current continuing resolution (CR) expires on December 11;
  • Multiple policy differences still need to be worked through, and whether to include COVID-19 related funding will also need to be addressed, since efforts for a next relief and recovery package have not been successful.

U.S. DOT Proposing Internal NEPA Updates

  • November 23, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to update and codify its internal order for complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA);
  • The Proposed Rule is intended to modernize DOT’s procedures in implementing NEPA to align with the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) final rule on updating its NEPA procedures, as well as to update the Department’s categorical exclusions;
  • Comments to the NPRM are due by December 23, 2020, and the full notice may be viewed in the Federal Register;
  • In March, APWA submitted comments to CEQ regarding its proposed updates to NEPA.

FCC Votes to Repurpose Portion of Transportation Spectrum

  • November 18, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to move forward with its proposal to repurpose a portion of the 5.9 GHz spectrum;
  • Since 1999, this spectrum has been reserved for advancing transportation technology and vehicle safety communications;
  • In March, APWA sent a letter to the FCC opposing this move for safety reasons;
  • Under the new rules, intelligent transportation system services will be required to vacate the lower 45 megahertz of the band within one-year;
  • The FCC’s change has chosen to transition away from dedicated short-range Communications (DSRC), to cellular vehicle-to-everything technology (V2X), and provide frequency for unlicensed Wi-Fi usage;
  • House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) released a joint statement on the FCC decision to express disappointment, and in their view, state the FCC will undermine decades of transportation technology development;
  • Additionally, U.S. DOT, other members of Congress, and many state and local government organizations have been weighing in over recent months in opposition to this proposal.

FEMA Releases National Risk Index

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released its National Risk Index (NRI) for Communities;
  • The NRI was created to assist communities (particularly those with limited mapping and risk assessment capabilities) by analyzing risk factors from 18 natural hazards, in addition to expected annual losses, social vulnerability, and community resilience;
  • This tool better prepares communities for natural hazards by providing standardized risk data for mitigation planning and an overview of multiple risk factors;
  • The NRI is a free service, and FEMA is concurrently developing a comprehensive NRI application for release in late 2021.

FEMA Seeks Stakeholder Feedback on Updated Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101

  • FEMA is requesting feedback on the updated “Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101: Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans;”
  • The updated draft CPG includes guidelines on developing emergency operations plans, and emphasizes the use of a common understanding of the fundamentals of community-based planning;
  • By incorporating risk-informed planning and decision making, it will help planners examine threats or hazards to produce integrated, coordinated, and synchronized plans;
  • FEMA is scheduled to host a series of 60-minute webinar sessions to discuss changes to the updated CPG 101;
  • The webinars will include facilitated discussions with stakeholders to help improve the existing draft;
  • FEMA is accepting comments until 5:00 p.m. ET January 25, 2021.

CISA Releases Final Cyber Essentials Toolkit: “Your Crisis Response”

  • The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the final of its six (6) Cyber Essentials Toolkits, “Your Crisis Response,” focusing on responding to and recovering from a cyberattack;
  • This toolkit also includes an exercise designed to raise leaders’ awareness of risks and the need to integrate cybersecurity decision-making with day-to-day risk management processes and procedures;
  • The Cyber Essentials Toolkits provide a set of modules designed to break down the CISA cyber essentials into more manageable actions for organizational leadership to work toward a more complete implementation of each cyber essential;
  • Each Cyber Essential Toolkit emphasizes recommended steps to build cyber readiness into the six interrelated aspects of an organizational culture of cyber readiness. 

ON THE HORIZON

  • December 2, at 2:30 p.m. ET, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight & Emergency Management is scheduled to host a hearing on state and local Cybersecurity amid COVID-19;
  • December 2, 9, and 16 at 11:00 a.m. ET, CISA is scheduled to host three (3) virtual chemical security seminars designed to provide chemical security information for groups including first responders, facility owners and operators, and government officials;
  • December 8 at 2:00 p.m. ET,the National Weather Service (NWS) is scheduled to conduct a virtual briefing and open discussion focused on potential changes to the management of user access of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Web Services.