EPA’s Integrated Planning Initiative To Be Topic of Hearing
The Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), will hold a hearing next week on the level of success achieved by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) integrated planning and permitting regulatory prioritization effort for stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, and legislative efforts being made to supplement the program.
Clean drinking water and wastewater services are necessary priorities to sustain healthy communities, the economy, and the environment, but the aging of existing wastewater infrastructure and the growing number of federal and state regulatory mandates to comply with water quality standards place an increasing demand on the limited resources of municipalities’ utilities. Integrating stormwater and wastewater requirements has the potential to help address municipalities’ cost concerns because EPA can better weigh municipalities’ financial capabilities and prioritize and support activities that provide the highest environmental return per dollar spent.
EPA released its integrated planning framework in 2012. Some in the stakeholder community have been cautiously optimistic, but how the agency finally implements the policy will be critical to evaluating its success. Several legislative proposals that seek to address various issues and concerns related to EPA’s initiative are also under development.
The hearing, entitled “Integrated Planning and Permitting Framework: An Opportunity for EPA to Provide Communities with Flexibility to Make Smart Investments in Water Quality,” is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 24, 2014 in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.
More information about the hearing, including testimony, additional background information, and live webcast, will be posted here as it becomes available.
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