Advocacy

Your representation in the nation's capital, the NGWA Government Affairs Department works to:

  • Boost awareness of the important role groundwater plays in securing drinking water and supporting the agricultural community
  • Ensure that any impacts upon the use, management, protection, and/or remediation of groundwater are consistent with sound scientific and technical understanding
  • Improve the business climate for the groundwater professions.
SmartWaterPolicies.com

For more information on NGWA’s advocacy efforts- please visit www.SmartWaterPolicies.com. SmartWaterPolicies.com is NGWA’s latest tool in water policy and advocacy.

It is a one-stop resource for lawmakers, researchers, groundwater advocates, and NGWA members to learn more about the smart water policies created and promoted by NGWA. The site also provides easy to use tools to contact your elected officials in Congress and urge them to support our industry by pursuing smart water policies across the country.

    2022 NGWA policy priorities

    Commercial driver’s license requirements

    After extremely lengthy consideration by the federal government, Entry-Level Driver Training for truck drivers, as well as other commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators, is set to go into effect in February. Its long history goes back more than a decade before the creation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2000.

    Beginning February 7, 2022, all entry-level operators of CMVs in both interstate and intrastate commerce who are applying for an A, B, or C commercial driver’s license (CDL) must first satisfactorily complete minimum training requirements before taking their state-administered CDL examination.

    This year, NGWA will be reviewing the impact of these new requirements on the industry and be exploring the potential for certain exemptions for groundwater-related CMVs.

    Waters of the United States

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army announced on December 7, 2021, their new proposed rule to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

    WOTUS are defined as those bodies of waters which fall under federal jurisdiction and regulations. Historically, most all groundwater has been omitted from the definition of WOTUS and thus far out of the scope of federal regulations. While the new rule does not include groundwater in the new definition, it also does not exclude it as explicitly as in earlier versions.

    Currently, the new WOTUS definition is under public review and NGWA will be pursuing all avenues to advocate for the exclusion of groundwater from federal oversite and regulations.

    PFAS regulations and funding

    National efforts to address PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in water supplies remained a big focus for both lawmaker and federal regulators last year. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates an historic $10 billion investment to fight PFAS contamination across the country. This funding will be focused on the following programs:

    • $5 billion through the EPA’s Assistance to Small and Disadvantaged Communities Program and State Response to Contaminants Program to address emerging contaminants
    • $4 billion through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for emerging contaminants with a focus on PFAS
    • $1 billion through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to address emerging contaminants.

    The EPA also released its PFAS Strategic Roadmap, which is the multiyear plan to move toward increased regulations of PFAS in drinking water and create more safeguards to PFAS impacting public health.

    NGWA has long been a leader in advocating for increased funding for PFAS remediation and the push to regulate PFAS in drinking water. NGWA will be closely monitoring federal PFAS remediation funding and working closely with the EPA to ensure any new regulations are based in sound scientific research in the coming year.

    Infrastructure spending

    The $1 trillion dollar Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes more than $55 billion for water infrastructure. This includes funding for water-reuse programs, managed aquifer recharge projects, and money for public water systems to both improve their infrastructure and expand their services.

    NGWA will be working with its membership this year on advocating for project funding that will recharge and revitalize the nation’s aquifers and increase groundwater quality in rural America. These efforts will prove especially critical in the western states that have been impacted by record-breaking droughts in the past decade.

    NGWA will also be closely monitoring public water system expansion as it may correlate with increased “mandatory hook-up efforts.” NGWA will be working closely with its partners and state associations to track this spending and any new efforts to force well owners off their private systems.

    2023 Farm Bill

    While it may seem early, negotiations and congressional hearings for the 2023 Farm Bill will begin this year and NGWA plans to work with its allies in advocating for rural development funding, source water protection, and increasing support for the Household Water Well System Grant Program and Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.

    By providing strong support for groundwater protections in the Farm Bill, NGWA will ensure rural communities and the agriculture industry can continue to rely on groundwater for generations to come.

    For questions or to learn how to become involved in NGWA’s government advocacy, contact NGWA Public Relations and Government Affairs Manager Ben Frech at bfrech@ngwa.org.


    Government affairs staff

    Ben Frech
    Public Affairs and Regional Public Policy Manager
    (800) 551-7379 or (614) 898-7791, ext. 1570

    Chuck Job
    Manager of Regulatory Affairs
    (800) 551-7379 or (614) 898-7791, ext. 1561