Sharing with you a few updates covering the latest (and greatest!) on the bipartisan infrastructure bill passing, a quick hit on the Fifth Circuit’s action on workplace vaxxing, info on EPA programming, and updates on next week’s Congressional meetings.
Update: Infrastructure Bill Sent to Biden, OSHA Vaccine Mandate Hits Roadblock
This story is available on the NSDC Blog: https://bit.ly/nsdcBIFoshaUpdate
The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday evening passed, 228-206, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit halted Saturday the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace vaccine mandate.
House Democrats resolved their differences on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and agreed to the Senate's full amendment to the bill, with 13 Republicans voting in favor and six Democrats voting against. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation in the days ahead. Once signed, the package will provide a five-year reauthorization of various surface transportation programs, as well put in motion historic investments in water, wastewater, transit, ports, airports, electric grid, and natural infrastructure.
Click here for NSDC's Special Report on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (August 18, 2021). An update to this report detailing immediate appropriations will be available to NSDC members this week.
Meanwhile, the Fifth Circuit issued a stay on federal OSHA's Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) regarding workplace vaccinations for employers with more than 100 employees. As NSDC previously reported, the ETS impacts special districts in 22 states with OSHA-approved state plans.
The Court is expediting the case, with the Federal government given until the end of the day Monday to respond. A decision is expected as soon as Friday, November 12.
The case – of which Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah are plaintiffs – is one of four cases that 27 state attorneys general have filed against the mandate. Additional action is pending in the Sixth, Eighth, and 11th circuits. All seek to void the ETS, generally alleging First Amendment violations or improper ETS development procedures.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host two webinars and a virtual summit covering clean water programs and policies between now and Thanksgiving. Topics include how to respond to hazard materials spills affecting drinking water, supply chain struggles, climate change and cybersecurity, and emergency response. Information below, as shared with us from EPA:
Drinking Water Utility Spill Response Webinar: November 10, 2021 (1:00-3:00 pm ET)
EPA is sponsoring a free webinar for water suppliers on how to prepare for and respond to a hazardous material spill that affects drinking water supplies. The webinar will feature water utility speakers who will share real-world experiences responding to incidents and discuss source water risk and resilience planning and response capabilities. EPA will highlight requirements of America’s Water Infrastructure Act Section 2018 and share lessons learned from previous spill responses. Participants who attend the full webinar will receive materials to apply for CEUs, including a certificate of completion. Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8423576700997310988
Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) Security Summit: November 16-18, 2021
The Water Laboratory Alliance will host a 3-day virtual summit November 16-18, 2021. The Summit will include an overview of the Water Laboratory Alliance/Environmental Response Laboratory Network and EPA Water Security Resources, an abbreviated tabletop exercise designed to showcase resources and build connections among participants, keynote speakers, and an array of customizable track sessions available to a wide variety of stakeholders. Register here: https://gdit.zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJItf-yrrTstHk1xHG_CKo_jpA5HtsH_5BY
Lessons from the Field: Tips to Mitigate Supply Chain Challenges: November 18, 2021 (2:30-3:30 pm ET)
The webinar will provide an overview on the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Section 1441 process and a panel of previous water and wastewater utilities that submitted applications under the SDWA Section 1441 authorities. The panelists will provide lessons learned from their experience using the SDWA Section 1441 program. In addition, the panelists will provide information on EPA collaboration activities which assisted them with mitigation actions to help resolve their supply chain challenges, such as emergency contracts and identifying alternate systems and suppliers. Register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3105058638307692302
Scheduling for NSDC Congressional Meetings Begins Tuesday
The National Special Districts Coalition members will be meeting with priorty members of their congressional delegations, including both Senate offices, between Wednesday, November 17, and Friday, November 19. Thank you to those who shared their availalblity to help us schedule meetings at times that work for you! Be on the look out for Outlook calendar invites for scheduled meetings.
NSDC Forum Update
One of the perks of NSDC membership is moving closer to launch! NSDC has been working with Higher Logic to resolve issues delaying the launch of our member forum. Once resolved, NSDC member organizations will be added to the community forum where all can connect with each other, network, share best practices, and receive NSDC advocay updates. If you are reciving this email, you will be automatically added to the community and will be able to adjust notification settings to receive instant updates, daily or weekly digests. This also means greater exclusivity of member content. Be on the look out for more information in the coming days!