Executive Activity

Fiscal Year 2016 Budget for EPA

On Monday, February 2, President Obama will announce his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget request to Congress to fund the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We expect a significant focus in the proposed budget on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There is some concern that these issues could be a distraction from more conventional environmental needs. The White House has already stated that the President’s FY16 Budget will contain $15 million for the Department of Energy to develop more cost-effective loss detection systems for natural gas transmission and distribution systems, and $10 million to launch a program quantifying emissions from natural gas infrastructure for the national Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

President Issues Executive Order on Flooding

On Friday, January 30, President Obama issued an Executive Order (E.O.) on flooding calling for stricter building and siting standards to account for more severe storms expected from climate change. The E.O. sets forth a “federal flood risk management standard” that will apply to federal, state and local governments.

Legislative Activity

Waters of the U.S.

On Wednesday, February 4, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in conjunction with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, will hold a hearing to examine the impacts of the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule on state and local governments.

Drinking Water

On Thursday, February 5, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittees on Environment and the Economy, will hold a hearing on H.R. 212, the Drinking Water Protection Act, which focuses on protecting drinking water from algae blooms. EPA is expected to testify.

Water Discharge

On Wednesday, February 4, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportations Committee, Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will hold its first hearing of the 114th Congress to examine, “The Impacts of Vessel Discharge Regulations on our Shipping and Fishing Industries.” The hearing will address incongruent state and federal water discharge regulations for vessels.