National Conference of Regions: In Photos

National Conference of Regions: In Photos

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Welcome to a special edition of Regional Councils: This Month in Photos!   2019 National Conference of Regions: In Photos (PDF) 

All of the photos in this edition are from NARC’s February National Conference of Regions. Inside you’ll find photos of the NARC members, conference speakers, and members of Congress and the Administration who made this year’s Conference of Regions memorable.

Each month, NARC publishes Regional Councils: This Month in Photos to highlight events and activities taking place in regions around the nation. This month we’re publishing two editions 

We feature regional council meetings, board retreats, meetings with state or federal elected officials, the opening of new facilities, special programs, awards, and anything else you view as important or fun to share with your colleagues.

If you would like your region included in Regional Councils: This Month in Photos, please send your photos and a brief description to Neil Bomberg at neil@narc.org.

Official Waters of the United States Proposal Released, Comment Period Open

The Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers have officially released a
revised definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) which determines
the scope of federal regulation under the Clean
Water Act
(CWA). The comment period for the revision will be open until
April 15, 2019. The revised definition and comment submission information can
be accessed here

What would the redefinition do?

The redefinition
would create six categories of regulated waters and eleven categories of
exempted waters.

The six categories that would be regulated:

  1. Traditional
    navigable waters, including the territorial seas;

    1. The
      previously separated categories of “navigable waters” and “territorial seas”
      would be merged, but regulation of these waters would not be altered.
  2. Tributaries
    that contribute perennial or intermittent flow to such waters;

    1. Tributaries
      would not include any surface features that only flow as the result of
      precipitation. Ephemeral flows like dry washes and arroyos would be excluded.
  3. Certain
    ditches;

    1. Only
      ditches that also satisfy the conditions of the tributary definition, and
      ditches constructed in an adjacent wetland would be included. 
  4. Certain
    lakes and ponds;

    1. Lakes
      and ponds that satisfy the conditions of traditional navigable waters would be
      included.
    1. Lakes
      and ponds that contribute a perennial or intermittent flow to other
      jurisdictional waters would also be included.
  5. Impoundments
    of otherwise jurisdictional waters; and

    1. The
      redefinition would not alter the regulation of impoundments.
  6. Wetlands
    adjacent to other jurisdictional waters.

    1. Wetlands
      would satisfy the requirement of adjacency if they “abut” or have a “direct
      hydrological surface connection” with other jurisdictional waters.

The eleven categories of waters that would be exempted:

  1. Waters
    or water features that are not identified in the six categories of regulated
    waters.
  2. Groundwater,
    including groundwater drained through subsurface drainage systems.
  3. Ephemeral
    features and diffuse stormwater run-off.
  4. Certain
    ditches.
  5. Prior
    converted cropland.
  6. Artificially
    irrigated areas that would revert to upland if artificial irrigation ceases.
  7. Certain
    artificial lakes and ponds constructed in upland.
  8. Certain
    water-filled depressions created incidental to mining or construction activity
    and pits excavated for the purpose of obtaining fill, sand, or gravel.
  9. Stormwater
    control features excavated or constructed in upland to convey, treat,
    infiltrate, or store stormwater run-off.
  10. Wastewater
    recycling structures constructed in upland.
  11. Waste
    treatment systems.

The background of WOTUS

The definitions of
“Navigable Waters” and “Waters of the United States” have changed multiple
times since the creation of the CWA in 1972. The most recent redefinition
occurred in 2015 and expanded CWA scope, including increased jurisdiction
regarding ephemeral water features and water features adjacent but lacking
direct hydrological connections to jurisdictional waters.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

Since its introduction, the 2015
definition
has faced litigation regarding its validity under the
Constitution and the CWA. As a result, the
rule has been blocked in 28 States and is
currently only recognized in 22 States, the District of Columbia, and
U.S. Territories. In states where the 2015 rule is blocked, the EPA’s
less-inclusive 1988
definition of “Waters of the United States” remains in effect.

On February 28,
2017, President Trump signed the Executive Order “Restoring
the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the `Waters of
the United States’ Rule
.
This order began the process of developing the currently proposed redefinition.
The intention of this redefinition as stated in the Executive Order is “to
ensure that the Nation’s navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while
at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty,
and showing due regard for the roles of the Congress and the States under the
Constitution.”

The official
revised WOTUS definition was released on February 14, 2019 and the comment
period on the rule will be open until April 15, 2019. The latest fact sheets,
infographics, supporting documents, information on the revision can be accessed
here on the
EPA’s website.

This Month in Photos: January 2019

This Month in Photos: January 2019

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Welcome to the latest edition of Regional Councils: This Month in Photos!   January 2019 – February 2019 (PDF)

Each month, NARC publishes Regional Councils: This Month in Photos to highlight events and activities taking place in regions around the nation. 

We feature regional council meetings, board retreats, meetings with state or federal elected officials, the opening of new facilities, special programs, awards, and anything else you view as important or fun to share with your colleagues.

If you would like your region included in Regional Councils: This Month in Photos, please send your photos and a brief description to Neil Bomberg at neil@narc.org.

2019 State of the Union Address: NARC Supports Call for Infrastructure Development

2019 State of the Union Address: NARC Supports Call for Infrastructure Development

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Among multiple 2019 initiatives mentioned during his Tuesday night State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump spoke of his desire to work with Congress to develop bipartisan legislation to “deliver new and important infrastructure investment.” Emphasizing the critical nature of these improvements, the President added, “this is not an option. This is a necessity.”

 “Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure. I know that the Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill — and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.”

NARC strongly agrees that improvements to America’s infrastructure must be treated as a necessity rather than an option. Regions across the country critically need a wide range of improvements to infrastructure systems including transportation, water, energy, broadband, and public safety.

NARC looks forward to working with the Administration and Congress to develop a bipartisan infrastructure package in 2019.

Full text of the President’s remarks can be read here.