NACWA Participates in EPA Briefing on Affordability Proposal, Dialogue with Municipal Ombudsman

(September 30, 2020) – NACWA joined other municipal and state groups on September 24 for a meeting hosted by EPA’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations to hear from Office of Water staff on the Agency’s new affordability proposal and to engage in a dialogue with EPA’s Municipal Ombudsman.

EPA largely repeated a presentation on the affordability guidance it made during a public webinar on September 22 (a recording of the webinar is now available on EPA’s website). NACWA provided the membership a detailed summary of the proposed EPA guidance via Advocacy Alert on September 24, and urges members to review the proposal.

NACWA will be reaching out to the other groups participating in the EPA meeting, including the US Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, and the Association of Clean Water Administrators, as it prepares to comment on the new affordability methodology.

Jamie Piziali, currently serving in an interim capacity as EPA’s Municipal Ombudsman – a position created as a result of consistent advocacy by NACWA and others – provided an update on the activities of her office since taking on the role earlier in 2020. The Ombudsman position is intended to provide local government entities, including NACWA’s public agency members, a better voice within the Agency to navigate conflicts among offices, identify resources and help ensure consistent application of federal rules across the EPA regions.

NACWA met with Ms. Piziali earlier in the year to discuss her role and stressed during the September 24 dialogue that the Ombudsman’s office will need to be engaged at the federal and regional levels as EPA seeks to roll out any revised affordability guidance. NACWA encourages its members to explore the Municipal Ombudsman’s website for information on the resources and assistance they can provide.

For any questions regarding this issue please contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.