Regulatory Flexibility 

NACWA is continuously engaged with EPA and Congress on ways to streamline and simplify the existing Clean Water Act (CWA) regulatory framework, with a goal of providing public clean water utilities with more flexibility in meeting their public health and environmental protection obligations. 

The focus of these efforts is not about rolling regulations or protections. To the contrary, it is about empowering utilities to meet and even exceed their CWA responsibilities in more innovative and efficient ways. 

NACWA believes there are a number of steps – within the existing CWA statutory framework – the Federal Government can take to provide a more flexible regulatory construct that encourages efficiencies, innovation, and cost savings, while still providing a high level of public health and environmental protection. 

More importantly, NACWA believes that public clean water utilities have earned the right – with more than 40 years of proven work to protect the environment – to have a greater partnership with the Federal Government in creating an effective and efficient regulatory regime. 

On Capitol Hill our efforts have focused on codifying EPA’s Integrated Planning Framework, which provides a foundation for clean water utilities to set priorities and sequence investments on regulatory requirements in a manner that makes the most sense for their community. EPA’s continued embrace of the Integrated Planning Framework is a clear sign that the Agency views utilities more as partners than as the regulated community. We have also worked to explore potential legislative avenues for achieving other regulatory flexibility objectives.

At EPA we are pleased to see EPA’s enforcement office focusing more on compliance assistance than in the past. Combined with integrated planning, this compliance-assistance first mindset will enable EPA and clean water utilities to work together to address the most pressing environmental challenges first in a more flexible fashion.

NACWA has broadly engaged the Trump Administration on the issue of regulatory flexibility, but is now working on several targeted efforts to advance key initiatives across the water office. Our most recent effort focused on areas needing streamlining around the application for and issuance of State Revolving Loan (SRF) funds.

Resources