Legislative Activity

Senate Passes WRDA Bill with Funding for Flint

Last week, the Senate passed its version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) (S. 2848) by a vote of 95-3. The $10.6 billion bill would authorize projects to be carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to address navigation, flood protection and ecosystem improvement. The legislation would also create a water infrastructure fund and provide financial assistance for drinking water and waste water systems. With regard to the Flint, MI crisis, the bill would direct $220 million to assist Flint and other communities in upgrading drinking water technologies and infrastructure. In addition, the bill would authorize $125 million for USACE to immediately address coastal levees that are disintegrating and would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pay for the response costs of the Gold King Mine spill within 90 days of passage. The House is expected to vote on its version of the legislation next week but does not include funding for drinking water and wastewater projects. However, Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has vowed to fight for inclusion of aid to Flint in the final version of the bill. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman, Bill Shuster (R-PA), has expressed his desire to move the bill through the House as quickly as possible in order to begin negotiations through a conference committee.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Wednesday, September 21, the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing to consider the “Impacts of the Obama Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ’s) Final Guidance for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change.”
  • On Thursday, September 22, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, will hold a joint hearing titled “Midterm Review and Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards For Motor Vehicles.”
  • On Wednesday, September 21, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing titled “An Examination of FEMA’s Limited Role in Local Land Use Development Decisions.”
  • On Wednesday, September 21, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife, will hold a hearing to examine the proposed revisions to the Fish and Wildlife Service mitigation policy.

Regulatory Activity

Oil and Gas on OCS

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has released its final rule on oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The regulation addresses safety and pollution prevention equipment design and maintenance, production safety systems, subsurface safety devices, and safety device testing. The rule also divides the current BSEE regulations regarding oil and gas production safety systems into multiple sections. The rule becomes effective on November 7, 2016.