CASA FEDERAL PRIORITY GETS MOVEMENT
USEPA AGREES TO SEEK PUBLIC COMMENT ON CHANGES TO CLEAN WATER ACT INCOME RESTRICTION PROVISIONS
In a significant development for one of CASA’s key federal legislative priorities, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has informed CASA that, prompted by ongoing concern with the antiquated income standard for determining the eligibility of an individual to serve on water quality boards, USEPA is committing to a target date of September 30, 2013 to issue a request for comments to revise the standard. The issue will be included in the proposed NPDES streamlining rule, which has been undergoing Office of Management and Budget review for over a year. A 60-day public comment period will be provided.
The decision marks an important milestone for two reasons. First, USEPA will inform Congress of this decision and thus it is the first substantive commitment to attempt to resolve the matter administratively. If USEPA misses the deadline, the push for legislation to mandate a specific change will be strengthened. Second, the decision to accept public comments allows CASA, and its allies, to establish a formal public record, advance a preferred remedy and to work with USEPA to expedite the revision.
The decision to move forward on the rulemaking process, while always subject to disruption, is a direct result of CASA and the other stakeholders’ work with Representative Gary Miller (CA) and his cosponsors to keep the issue front and center. As the September date approaches, CASA will need to prepare for a strong showing of support from our member agencies during the comment period to illustrate the importance of a revision and the form that such a revision should encompass. During the upcoming conference in August in San Diego, the Federal Legislative Committee will develop a strategy for maximizing CASA’s impact. In the meantime, CASA will continue to seek a legislative hearing to maintain national attention on the issue and advance the Sunshine on Conflicts Act (H.R. 836).