2014-15 NOWRA Lobbying/Advocacy Effort Review 2014 January Initial funding commitments from members of Lobbying Board of Governors. Interviews with Lobbying firms February Organizing meeting of Lobbying Board of Governors at Pumper Show March Tommy Cassidy of Arnall, Golden, Gregory selected at NOWRA chief lobbyist April Cassidy meets with Rep. Bob Gibbs, Chairman of the House Water Resources & the Environment Subcommittee of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee May 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 June NOWRA meets with EPA Director of the national State Revolving Fund program July 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. September 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 funding November 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 2015 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 Wastewater. 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 opportunities. 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. Summary 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 activities. 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 office. 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 capitols.