APWA Washington Report
March 22, 2021

**Please note the next edition of APWA’s Washington Report will be sent out on April 12, 2021. In the meantime, follow APWA Government Affairs on Twitter @APWAGOVAFFAIRS and check out ‘Advocacy News’ to stay apprised of Government Affairs news.
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House Introduces Bipartisan Water Infrastructure Bill

  • Last week, members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021;
  • The legislation will authorize $50 billion in federal funding over five years for wastewater projects and local water quality challenges;
  • The legislation was introduced by Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Subcommittee Chair Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA);
  • The legislation reauthorizes the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program and increases funding to $8 billion annually through 2026;
  • The bill also includes $1 billion over five years to help communities deal with treatment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other new contaminants;
  • APWA issued a letter of support for the legislation and is committed to working with House leadership to see the bill passed;
  • You can read a fact sheet and section by section of the bill on the Committee website.

Senate Committee Approves PFAS Protection Bill

  • Last week, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) approved the Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances Act;
  • The bill is designed to protect firefighters from Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and reduce their release into the environment;
  • The bipartisan bill was led by HSGAC Chair Gary Peters (D-MI);
  • The legislation directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop guidance within 180 days pertaining to the use of PFAS in firefighting;
  • FEMA must work with the U.S. Fire Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health;
  • PFAS are known as ‘forever chemicals’ due to their longevity in the environment, contaminating land and water;
  • Studies have linked exposure to PFAS to increased risk of several types of cancer, as well as multiple other health issues.

APWA Board of Directors Holds Virtual Congressional Meetings

  • APWA’s Board of Directors will be continuing virtual meetings with their respective Members of Congress through March 31;
  • The 17 members of the Board will be meeting to update their Senators and Representatives on APWA policy as well as those issues specific to their state and congressional districts;
  • Please follow @APWAGOVAFFAIRS on Twitter for updates on the meetings.

APWA to Host Panel with Congressional Staff

  • March 29 at 11:00 a.m. ET, as part of PWX@Home, APWA is inviting all members to a virtual event featuring congressional staff;
  • These staffers work for members of Congress and committees with jurisdiction over APWA’s Public Policy Priorities;
  • The staffers will provide an insider’s perspective on how APWA members can best engage in their advocacy efforts;
  • If you would like to attend, please email Michael Altman at maltman@apwa.net to RSVP and receive a webinar link.

Deb Haaland Sworn-in as DOI Secretary

  • Last week, Deb Haaland was sworn-in as Secretary for the Department of Interior (DOI);
  • Most recently Secretary Haaland served as U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s First Congressional District.

Isabel Guzman Sworn-in as SBA Administrator

  • Last week, Isabel Guzman was sworn-in as Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA);
  • Most recently Ms. Guzman served as the Director of California’s Small Business Advocate;
  • She also previously served as the Deputy Administrator for the SBA during the Obama Administration;
  • The SBA, oversees several disaster loan and assistance programs for small businesses;
  • More information on the types of assistance available through the SBA can be found here.

Senate to Vote on Marty Walsh for DOL Secretary

  • March 22 at approximately 5:30 p.m. the full Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to head the Department of Labor (DOL);
  • DOL operates a wide range of job training programs that are key to maintaining a skilled workforce;
  • Mayor Walsh is expected to easily be confirmed in what will likely be a bipartisan vote;
  • For more information on Mayor Walsh, please see our Advocacy News item on his confirmation hearings.

FHWA Hosting Webinars on MUTCD –Comments Due May 14, 2021

  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is hosting webinars on March 18, March 25, and April 1, related to the pending update of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) for Streets & Highways;
  • This is the first update in 10-years, and the Agency is seeking input and taking comments until May 14, 2021 on its released proposed changes;
  • Participation in the webinars is limited, but FHWA is recording the sessions and releasing the recordings shortly after each session—the March 18 webinar recording is now available;
  • Additional information on the webinars is here and the full Notice of Proposed Amendments may be found here.

White House Environmental Justice Council to Meet in March

  • Last week, The White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) has announced a virtual meeting to be held on March 30;
  • The WHEJAC Charter states that it will provide independent advice and recommendations to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and to the White House Interagency Council on Environmental Justice (Interagency Council);
  • WHEJAC is tasked with advising how to increase the Federal Government’s efforts to address current and historic environmental justice;
  • You can learn more about the meeting and register to attend here.

EPA Environmental Financial Advisory Board to Meet in April

  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Financial Advisory Board (EFAB) will meet virtually on April 20 and 21;
  • EFAB is an EPA advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act;
  • EFAB exists to provide advice and recommendations to EPA on creative approaches to funding environmental programs, projects, and activities;
  • The meeting will be held to allow for EFAB workgroup updates to be provided to the EFAB Board members;
  • You can register for the event here, and learn more about EFAB here.

FEMA Releases 18 Public Works Resource Typing Documents

FEMA Provides Update on Fiscal Year 2020 FMA and BRIC Grants

  • Last week FEMA provided an update on the Fiscal Year 2020 Flood Mitigation Assistance(FMA) and Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant programs;
  • The program application period deadline for both grant programs was January 29, with the selection process for determining awardees beginning earlier this month;
  • For the Fiscal Year 2020 grant application cycle, FEMA received nearly $3.6 billion in applications for the BRIC grant program and nearly $400 million for the FMA grant program;
  • A total of $700 million is available for the two grant programs;
  • FEMA is currently preparing the Fiscal Year 2021 grant cycle;
  • For additional details on this process– click here.

FAA Final Rules on Drones to be Released Next Month

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to release two final rules on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drone usage next month;
  • The Operations Over People Rule applies to pilots who fly underPart 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations;
  • This rule seeks to clarify drone usage conducted above people and over moving vehicles, as it currently varies depending on the level of risk a small drone operation presents to people on the ground;
  • The Remote Identification Rule (Remote ID), requires identification of drones in flight as well as providing the location of their control stations or takeoff point;
  • For additional information on the rules – click here.

NOAA Hosts Listening Sessions

  • Beginning this week the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will host a series of listening sessions related to an Executive Order (EO) on “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad”, which was issued on January 27, 2021;
  • The listening sessions are being held to assist NOAA in obtaining written input from interested parties on how best to achieve the objectives described in the Executive Order, under Section 216 (C), for additional details on the listening sessions – click here.