Summary - National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association

2014-15 NOWRA Lobbying/Advocacy Effort Review
 Initial funding commitments from members of Lobbying Board of Governors.
 Interviews with Lobbying firms
 Organizing meeting of Lobbying Board of Governors at Pumper Show
 Tommy Cassidy of Arnall, Golden, Gregory selected at NOWRA chief lobbyist
 Cassidy meets with Rep. Bob Gibbs, Chairman of the House Water Resources & the
Environment Subcommittee of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
 NOWRA meets with Gibbs’ Legislative Director to plan Capitol Hill Event
 NOWRA meets with General Counsel of House Water Resources & the Environment
Subcommittee regarding opportunities to influence legislation
 NOWRA meets with EPA Director of the national State Revolving Fund program
 NOWRA holds successful advocacy/education event in Rayburn House Office Building on
Capitol Hill. More than two dozen Members of Congress and key Congressional staff from
relevant committees/subcommittees attend.
 EPA State Revolving Fund office distributes new rules regarding eligibility of State
Revolving Fund projects. Onsite/Decentralized projects of all types are now eligible for SRF
 Further meetings with staff of Water Resources & Environment Subcommittee. NOWRA is
provided direction on attaching language to Appropriations legislation
 NOWRA hosts workshop for State Onsite Associations to strengthen their capacity to
represent the industry effectively at the state level. Explores additional programs to
support states’ efforts to better advocate for Onsite/Decentralized interests
February 2015
 NOWRA meets with Dr. Andrew Sawyers, Director of EPA Office of Wastewater. Receives
assurance that Office of Decentralized Wastewater will be preserved despite key staff
departures. Learns that office staffing will be cut by 50%
March 2015
 On March 18, Tom Fritts testified before the House Appropriations Committee’s
Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, which oversees the EPA
budget). In his testimony he asked for increased funding for decentralized wastewater
within the CWSRF, and more funding and staffing for the Office of Decentralized
Wastewater at EPA. The magic number in both cases is 20% -- that’s the percent of State
Revolving Fund money we want dedicated to onsite, and that’s also the percent of the EPA
Office of Wastewater’s budget we want spent on in support of the Office of Decentralized
April 2015
 NOWRA participates in Water Week 2015 as a Collaborating Organization. Water Week is
sponsored by WEF, WateReuse Association, WERF, and NACWA each year. In addition to
participating in the educational events, NOWRA had a tabletop booth at the Water Week
Expo in the Rayburn House Office Building, where we were able to connect with roughly a
dozen key congressional staff and 4 Members of Congress. We also held a reception that
evening at the Capitol Hill Club (GOP Headquarters). A number of NOWRA members who
were in town visited with Members of the House and Senate.
 Submitted written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on
Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. Messaging was similar to our testimony on
the House side.
July 2015
 NOWRA hosts legislative fly-in. More than a dozen members came to town to meet with
members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees, particularly the members
of both Appropriations subcommittees on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.
Roughly two dozen Representatives and Senators were visited. At this point it appears less
likely that we will be able to include funding language in the final bill; however, there is an
excellent chance that the appropriations bill will contain language specifically designating
onsite/decentralized systems as green infrastructure, which could open up a lot of funding
Current Activities
 We are working with EPA to ensure that the Office of Decentralized Wastewater continues
to exist within EPA. We have reached out to our EPA Decentralized partners, asking them
to sign on to a letter supporting our request to keep the last remaining employees in that
program from being forced to surrender her position. Our lobbyist is currently working to
identify Members of Congress who are sympathetic to our cause who would be willing to
sign a letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy on the need to better support the 85 million
Americans who are served by onsite/decentralized systems.
 We are also working to establish a Decentralized Wastewater Caucus in the House of
Representatives. Having a caucus of supportive Members provides us with a list of “go-to”
Members who can introduce legislation, work with key committees and provide us with an
ongoing presence on Capitol Hill
 The status of our legislative requests is currently uncertain. As often happens, Congress
passed a continuing resolution which kicked the can down the road until close to the end
of the year. Most likely there will be an effort to craft an omnibus spending bill which
includes all of the government agency funding requests. It is usually more difficult in that
environment to guarantee inclusion of specific legislative language.
 From a standing start, NOWRA’s lobbying campaign has made good progress in the 18
months since it began.
o We have hosted several educational/lobbying events on the hill and have participated
in others hosted by other organizations.
o We have testified in person before a key House Appropriations subcommittee, and
have submitted testimony to other committees.
o We have developed strong contacts and excellent working relationships with the
Chairmen of the key House and Senate subcommittees with jurisdiction over EPA
o We have deepened and broadened our contacts within EPA, particularly in the top
echelon of the Office of Wastewater management and within the State Revolving Fund
o NOWRA has been working with National Assn of Homebuilders to seek their support
for our legislative agenda. Progress has been promising as our contacts within NAHB
are expanding and more areas of common interest have been identified.
o We are currently assessing our strategy for 2016 and beyond. This is top to bottom
review of our approach and our representation.
o Recognizing that any federal funding victories at the national level will rely on strong
state organizations to secure those funds, we are working with our states to help them
build stronger and more effective advocacy and representation functions at their state