December 2013 CASA Connects

The Countdown Has Begun

Don’t Miss Out! Register today for CASA’s 2014 Winter Conference being held January 15-17, 2014. The Winter Conference theme – Embracing Change: Building On A Strong Foundation – highlights the program’s focus, which is to continue to educate members on the utility of the future. There are only 17 days before the start of the CASA Winter Conference. If you haven’t already made your hotel accommodations, the Esmeralda has extended the CASA special group room rate through January 3, 2014 for CASA participants. Wondering who is attending the conference? Here’s the first peek at the current preregistered attendees list.

For more information about the CASA Winter Conference, please visit www.casaweb.org/conferences.

 

Washington, DC Conference

Be part of the CASA change team and register today for the 10th Annual Washington, DC Conference set for February 24-26, 2014. Learn firsthand from Capitol Hill staffers and visit your federal legislators in person to share your agency’s efforts on resource recovery, clean energy and clean water. Make a difference on behalf of your constituents.

2014 CASA Public Policy Forum, Sacramento

Mark your calendars for CASA’s inaugural Sacramento public policy forum being held at the Sheraton Grand from March 27-29, 2014. Designed to have the same success CASA has had in Washington, DC, this event focuses on making a greater impact in Sacramento!

 

In the News

State Water Resources Control Board Releases Two Clean Water State Revolving Fund Documents

CASA Provides Input to USEPA on Proposed Electronic Reporting Rule

Gov. Brown Appoints Grant Cope as California’s new Deputy Secretary for Environmental Policy at the California Environmental Protection Agency

 

Job Board

For a complete view of all CASA news, visit CASA Current News.

 

CASA Upcoming Events

January 15-17, 2014

Winter Conference, Renaissance Esmeralda, Indian Wells, California

February 24-26, 2014

Washington D.C. Conference, Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, Washington, DC

April 28-29, 2014

CASA Public Policy Forum, Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sacramento, California

August 20-23, 2014

2014 59th Annual Conference, Marriott Monterey, Monterey, CA

For a complete list of all upcoming CASA and industry events, visit the CASA calendar of events.

 

Happy 2014

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.

– T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

2013 is about to end and 2014 will be here! CASA wants to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and involvement during 2013. We look forward to this brand new year with excitement and anticipation of many successes for both the association and our members. May the opportunities be many and the challenges be few!

 

 

 

Action in Sacramento will be Ramping Up when Session Reconvenes

After a three month break from legislative business, the Legislature will return on January 6, 2014 to officially kick off the second half of the 2013-14 Legislative Session. Governor Jerry Brown is set to introduce his proposed budget on January 10, in accordance with the constitutional deadline. With the session officially started, action in Sacramento will begin ramping up quickly. Legislators pursuing holdover bills from last year (“two-year bills”) still in their first house must have the measures heard in committee and passed out of the house of origin by the end of January. Meanwhile, legislative staff and advocates will be busy drafting legislation for possible introduction in 2014, mindful of the January 24 deadline for submitting bill proposals to Legislative Counsel for initial drafting, as well as the February 21 deadline to introduce all new legislation for the year. CASA will be actively monitoring existing two-year bills and screening newly introduced and amended legislation for issues of interest to CASA members. In early March, immediately following the bill introduction deadline, the CASA Legislative Committee will meet to discuss and take positions on these bills. CASA will be sending out a call for action when immediate attention is needed by CASA members to support or oppose a bill. Be sure to mark your calendars for the inaugural CASA Public Policy Forum scheduled for April 28-29, 2014 in Sacramento.

 

Renewal of Water Resources Legislation Delayed Until Early 2014

Finalization of a compromise Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) fell victim to a handful of disagreements between House and Senate conferees. As a result, the conferees and their staff will continue to work out differences in the early part of 2014 with the hope of sending a final bill to the President in February at the earliest. Despite an apparent consensus that renewal of WRDA is vital, traditional bumps in the road slowed progress.

The Administration voiced its opposition to provisions that would streamline environmental reviews of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects and opposes a Senate provision establishing an alternative loan program to support both U.S Army Corps of Engineers and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) water infrastructure projects. The White House believes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA) approach is an inefficient policy mechanism to meet the infrastructure challenge and prefers the creation of an infrastructure bank under a separate law. Complicating the negotiations is an ongoing dispute over the cost of the legislation. The House passed a measure limited to $8 billion. The Senate version is more than twice this amount. A number of other policy disputes must be reconciled over the next two months before a bill can be sent to the President.

CASA embraces a range of infrastructure financing tools to meet the needs of wastewater and water utilities, including WIFIA. CASA has voiced concern to Senator Barbara Boxer’s staff that language prohibiting the use of tax-exempt financing in combination with WIFIA assistance is unacceptable. CASA has also emphasized that WIFIA is not a replacement for the longstanding State Revolving Fund (SRF) program. An update on WRDA will be one of the many issues addressed at CASA’s 10th Annual Washington, DC Conference set for February 24-26, 2014 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel. Final program will be available soon. Registration and hotel accommodations are open now!

 

CASA Launches Science and Research Workgroup

CASA will introduce a new workgroup – Science and Research Workgroup – in 2014. Consisting of 23 volunteers from CASA member agencies and wastewater partners, the workgroup will convene for the first time in early January. The creation of the workgroup was included in CASA’s strategic plan. The workgroup’s purpose is to identify key California research needs, identify key researchers to accomplish that work and ultimately to seek funding sources for projects identified as key priorities for CASA members. The workgroup will also identify and communicate ongoing key research in areas of interest to CASA members. The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) has offered its assistance and will be a key partner. As one of several workgroups established under the umbrella of the Utility Leadership Committee, the workgroup will convene quarterly by conference call with at least one annual face-to-face meeting. CASA members are encouraged to share research needs and priorities with Chair Don Gray or CASA’s Director of Renewable Resource Programs Greg Kester.

 

Supreme Court Briefing Complete in Kern County Measure E Litigation

In November, Kern County filed its final reply brief before the California Supreme Court in the ongoing Measure E litigation, marking the conclusion of briefing by the parties at the Supreme Court. Earlier this year, the Court of Appeals rendered a favorable decision preventing Kern County from enforcing Measure E, the local initiative banning biosolids land application in the County. Shortly thereafter the California Supreme Court granted Kern County’s Petition for Review of the decision related to a narrow procedural issue pertaining to the window of time in which one has to pursue a legal claim. Read more.   

 

CASA Submits Comments on USEPA Proposed Electronic Reporting Rule

In mid-December, CASA submitted comments on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule (Reporting Rule). The proposed regulations would require permittees and regulators to electronically report information and data related to the NPDES permit program in lieu of filing written reports. When USEPA released the proposed rule, the agency indicated that implementation of the Reporting Rule would save time and limited resources for permittees, state regulatory authorities, and USEPA. In its comments, CASA expressed agreement with the underlying intent of the Reporting Rule, but also highlighted its opposition to additional and potentially duplicative reporting obligations placed on permittees. Read more.

 

CASA Prepares to Comment on USEPA Proposed Water Quality Standards Clarifications

On January 2, CASA will submit comments on another USEPA regulatory proposal, USEPA’s proposed changes to the federal water quality standards (WQS) regulations. The proposed changes address several key Clean Water Act (CWA) program areas, including processes to identify and refine designated uses, changes to USEPA’s involvement with state antidegradation implementation policies, and the parameters for use of variances and in-permit compliance schedules. Many of the proposed WQS changes are relatively non-controversial, and some were actually favorable in terms of clarifying provisions of existing law that could benefit POTWs. Read more.

 

CASA Engages with State Water Board Staff on Proposed Groundwater Management Framework

On December 18, CASA submitted comments on the discussion draft of a State Water Board Groundwater Workplan Concept Paper (Concept Paper). The document is State Water Board staff’s first attempt to develop a workplan that aligns current State Water Board groundwater efforts with the ongoing actions of other entities with groundwater management responsibilities. The draft Concept Paper also contains potential groundwater-related actions that the Water Boards and other entities could pursue in the future. The initial draft is designed to spark discussion on important issues related to groundwater management in California, and emphasize that addressing groundwater is a priority for State Water Board members and staff. Read more.

 

Andrew Brunhart Joins South Coast Water District

South Coast Water District Board of Directors has appointed Andrew Brunhart as the District’s General Manager. Brunhart started his new position on December 2, 2013. The selection culminates a nationwide recruiting process in which approximately 50 well-qualified candidates applied for the position. Brunhart brings a wealth of relevant experience to the District. A retired Navy Captain with a distinguished 30-year career managing and operating public utilities and infrastructure as a Civil Engineer Corp officer with substantial experience in California. He has also served as General Manager of the Washington Suburban Sanitary District in Laurel, Maryland, the nation’s eighth largest combined water and wastewater district serving 1.8 million citizens in two counties.

Brunhart holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Marquette University, a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University. Brunhart is a licensed Professional Engineer.

Welcome to CASA!