Congressman Garamendi Introduces NPDES Permit Term Extension Legislation

On March 14, Congressman John Garamendi introduced legislation to address extending NPDES permit terms for a fixed period of up to 10 years. This CASA priority bill gives USEPA and delegated states the authority to grant extended permit terms to public agencies. The legislation is consistent with CASA’s advocacy during the recent Washington D.C. Policy Forum and long-term federal legislative priorities.

The introduction of this bill moves the initiative forward and is an important step in the process of making 10-year permit terms a reality. It allows CASA and other stakeholders to seek specific support by requesting members to cosponsor the legislation, setting the stage for Congressman Garamendi to seek passage of the measure in the House. While the actual path forward is yet to be determined, one option involves seeking an amendment to a future infrastructure bill that includes these provisions.

In a demonstration of broad support for this concept, CASA secured the endorsement of the legislation from a number of national organizations including NACWA, WEF, the National League of Cities and many others. A letter highlighting this support was sent to Congressman Garamendi last week.

Later this week, we will be distributing a call to action requesting all CASA member agencies write to their member(s) of Congress, with a request that the member(s) cosponsor this legislation. We are also requesting data from member agencies that summarizes the potential benefits of extending permit terms.


Trump Administration Introduces 2020 Federal Budget Proposal

Last week, the White House Office of Management and Budget released a limited FY 2020 budget request for congressional consideration. The limited request will be followed by a detailed 2020 fiscal year budget. The proposal includes significant cuts for domestic spending while boosting defense spending. The budget is a starting point for negotiations. The clean water priorities in this budget version are:

  • Cut USEPA’s overall budget by 31 percent down to $6.1 billion. The budget would impact every budget activity including the state revolving fund and a wide variety of clean water programs.
  • Reduce the Clean Water SRF program to $1.1 billion, representing a 34 percent cut from current spending levels.
  • Impose a 60 percent cut to the popular Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program, providing only $25 million. This is reduced from the current $65 million.

In addition, the administration also proposes to reduce the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget by $2 billion. The formal budget transmittal is expected this week. Formal hearings into the Committee on Appropriations will follow in the weeks to come. The ultimate goal is to move all spending bills through the House and to the Senate by late June.