New Hampshire and Maine Drinking Water Programs Honored at U.S. Water Prize Award Ceremony

ASDWA would like to congratulate Paul Susca of the New Hampshire (NH) Drinking Water Program, Andy Tolman of the Maine (ME) Drinking Water Program, and Kira Jacobs of EPA Region 1 for their work as part of the Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative (SFWC).  The Collaborative was one of six recipients of the U.S. Water Prizes awarded during a ceremony held in Washington, DC this week on April 23rd.  Partners from the states of ME and NH, EPA Region 1, the ME and NH USDA NRCS programs, the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, and the Acton Wakefield Watersheds Alliance were all in attendance at the ceremony (see photo).

This inter-state collaborative between ME and NH unites local, state and Federal partners to protect forests, champion smarter development approaches, and reduce water pollution from existing and future land development for the protection of drinking water.  The work of the SFWC has been made possible through funding support from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and EPA through the national Source Water Collaborative.

The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative was one of six winners selected for the U.S. Water Prize.  The other prize winners include:  PepsiCo Frito-Lay, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Philadelphia Water Department, Project WET Foundation, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.  For more information about the prize, visit http://www.cleanwateramericaalliance.org/2012/02/21/2012-u-s-water-prize-winners-announced/.

To view a great article by the Clean Water America Alliance President Ben Grumbles that talks about the importance of the SFWC’s efforts, visit the CWAA website HERE.

For more information about the Salmon Falls Collaborative, visit http://www.wellsreserve.org/blog/32-salmon_falls_watershed_collaborative.

For more information about the National Source Water Collaborative, visit www.sourcewatercollaborative.org.

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EPA Publishes Energy-Water Principles Document

On April 24, Nancy Stoner, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Water, announced the release of the “Principles for an Energy-Water Future,” that was developed jointly by EPA’s Office of Water and EPA’s Office of Research and Development.  The purpose of this effort is to encourage stakeholders – including government, utilities, private companies and ratepayers – to consider the six principles outlined in the document and incorporate them into their work.

The principles are familiar concepts: water and energy efficiency, a water-wise energy sector, an energy-wise water sector, viewing wastewater as a source of renewable resources, integrated resource planning, and maximizing social benefits.   EPA hopes that having them listed in one document that touches upon all aspects of energy and water’s interdependency will help to further raise awareness, stimulate discussion and advance progress.

To view the memo from Nancy Stoner, go to:  Stoner memo – Principles for an Energy-Water Future 04-24-12

To view and download the Principles document, go HERE.

USA Today Article on National Drought

On April 12, USA Today reported that the nation has not been this dry in 5 years.  Still reeling from devastating drought that led to at least $10 billion in agricultural losses across Texas and the South in 2011, the nation is enduring more unusually parched weather.  A mostly dry, mild winter put nearly 61 percent of the lower 48 states in “abnormally dry” or drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.  That is the highest percentage of dry or drought conditions since September 2007.  Only two states — Ohio and Alaska — are entirely free of abnormally dry or drought conditions.

 

To view the entire article, visit the USA Today website at: http://www.usatoday.com/weather/drought/story/2012-04-11/mild-winterexpands-usa-drought/54225018/1.

 

For more location specific drought information and weather predictions, visit the U.S. Drought Monitor website at:  http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/ and/or the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center website at:  http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/index.php.

 

Two New Documents Formalize Federal Agency Coordination for Responsible Natural Gas Development

Obama Signs Executive Order to Establish Natural Gas Development Interagency Working Group

 

On April 13, President Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) to establish an Interagency Working Group for “Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources.”  The EO is aimed at the Federal government’s responsibility for ensuring public health and safety of natural gas production while reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

 

The Interagency Working Group is to be chaired by the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, or a designated representative as well as deputy-level representatives or equivalent officials, designated by the head of the respective agency or office, from the:

 

  • Departments of Defense; the Interior; Agriculture; Commerce; Health and Human Services; Transportation; Energy; and Homeland Security;
  • Environmental Protection Agency;
  • Council on Environmental Quality;
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy;
  • Office of Management and Budget;
  • National Economic Council; and
  • Such other agencies or offices as the Chair may invite to participate.

 

The EO acknowledges that states are the primary regulators of onshore oil and gas activities, but calls on these Federal agencies to support the safe and responsible production of domestic unconventional natural gas by:

 

  1. Coordinating agency policy activities;
  2. Sharing scientific, environmental, and related technical and economic information;
  3. Engaging in long-term planning and coordination on issues such as research, natural resource assessment, and the development of infrastructure;
  4. Promoting interagency communication with stakeholders; and
  5. Consulting with other agencies and offices as appropriate.

 

To view the EO, visit the White House website HERE.

 

EPA, DOE, and DOI Sign MOU to Coordinate Research on Natural Gas Development

 

On April 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced a formal partnership to coordinate and align all research associated with development of our nation’s abundant unconventional natural gas and oil resources. The partnership exemplifies the cross-government coordination required under President Obama’s Executive Order released on the same day, which created a new Interagency Working Group.

 

A primary goal of this effort will be to identify research topics where collaboration among the three agencies can be most effectively and efficiently conducted to provide results and technologies that support sound policy decisions by the agencies responsible for ensuring the prudent development of energy sources while promoting safe practices and human health.  Under this agreement, the core research areas for each of the partners is as follows:

 

  • EPA’s efforts will focus on scientific and technical disciplines that support the Agency’s mission of protecting human health and safeguarding the environment, including environmental and human health risk assessment, air quality, and water quality.

 

  • DOE’s responsibilities will cover wellbore integrity, flow and control; green technologies; and complex systems, imaging, materials, earth science and engineering; as well as practices employed by companies engaging in exploration and production of shale gas.

 

  • DOI’s activities will be conducted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that has research experience and capabilities in resource assessments; natural systems, geology, hydrology; and evaluation of effects on land use, wildlife, and ecological systems.

 

To view the memorandum of agreement, visit the EPA website at: http://www.epa.gov/hydraulicfracture/oil_and_gas_research_mou.pdf.

EPA Releases Draft 2012 Climate Strategy for the National Water Program

On April 2nd, EPA announced the release of its draft “National Water Program 2012 Strategy: Response to Climate Change” in the Federal Register for a 45-day public comment period through May 17, 2012.  The 2012 Strategy, which builds upon EPA’s first climate change and water strategy released in 2008, describes how EPA’s water-related programs plan to address the impacts of climate change and provides long-term visions, goals and strategic actions for the management of sustainable water resources for future generations.   Five key areas in the strategy focus on: infrastructure, watersheds and wetlands, coastal and ocean waters, water quality, and working with Tribes. It also describes geographically-based strategic issues and actions.

EPA has acknowledged the valuable contributions of the State-Tribal Climate Change Council  (including state drinking water program members from  NJ, WA, NH, MD, TX, and NC) to help develop this new draft strategy and ASDWA will again be working with this group and its source water committee to provide comments.

Visit the EPA website HERE for more information, to read the draft strategy, and to submit comments directly.