Three meetings under the Environmental Protection Agency’s water umbrella will take place in the next two weeks. On December 5, the Science Advisory Board will have a teleconference to discuss the value of water to the U.S. economy. The agency is looking for information about how clean water affects development patterns and how it affects different sectors of the economy. Email firstname.lastname@example.org by November 30 to claim 5 minutes of speaking time.
On December 7 in Washington, D.C., the agency will hold a meeting to discuss water-monitoring data required by a 2006 rule put in place to reduce the risk of water contamination from microbes such as Cryptosporidium. RSVP to email@example.com by December 2. Teleconferencing will also be available.
On December 14-15 in Arlington, Va., the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, which gives recommendations to the EPA on policies related to the Safe Drinking Water Act, will hold a public meeting. On the agenda: nutrient pollution of drinking water and assistance to small communities to help them comply with federal regulations. Written statements received by December 6 will be forwarded to the committee before the meeting. Groups will also have a chance to make oral statements at the meeting. Call Suzanne Kelly at (202) 564-3887 for more information.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are still looking into the matter, but they have found no evidence that Russian hackers attacked the control systems of an Illinois water utility, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The two agencies are also investigating an unrelated incident at a Houston-area water utility.
Global Change Research
Time is running out to comment on the next decade of U.S. environmental research. The U.S. Global Change Research Program’s draft strategic plan aims to use scientific research to understand how the earth’s natural systems are changing, to inform policy decisions, to assess risks, and to educate the public. The draft plan anticipates that climate-change risk assessment and adaptation, and the water-energy-food nexus will be major research areas in the coming years. Comments are due November 29. They can be submitted via this website.
An application for a preliminary permit for feasibility studies was filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the 600-megawatt Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project, a 200 meter (700 foot) dam proposed for Alaska’s Susitna River. The $4.5 billion dam would be the tallest built in the U.S. in the last half-century. The preliminary permit does not allow any construction to take place. In July, Alaska’s governor gave state authorization for the project.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is considering changing how it charges hydropower licensees for the use of federal land. The commission will base its fee schedule on the Bureau of Land Management formula for linear land rights, which takes into account the land value, a rate of return, and an annual adjustment. The formula also considers the extent to which the project excludes other uses of the land. FERC will calculate land values by county instead of the zones used by the BLM.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton