California Water Alliance’s Executive Summary of President Trump’s Executive Order for Water In The West
By: The California Water Alliance
A Presidential Memorandum to the Secretaries of the Interior, Commerce, Energy, Army and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality: Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West (October 20, 2018)
President Donald Trump’s executive order memorandum establishes policy and directs his Cabinet Secretaries to improve inefficiencies created by “decades of uncoordinated, piecemeal regulatory actions” that have “diminished the ability of our Federal infrastructure…to deliver water and power in an efficient, cost-effective way” and that “produce inefficiencies, unnecessary burdens, and conflict among the Federal Government, States, tribes, and local public agencies that deliver water to their citizenry.”
The memorandum sets the following major directives:
- Streamline Western water infrastructure regulatory processes and remove unnecessary burden,
- Improve forecasts of water availability,
- Improve use of technology to increase water reliability,
- Consider locally developed plans in hydroelectric-projects licensing, and
- Streamline regulatory processes and remove unnecessary burdens on the Columbia River Basin water infrastructure.
The objectives of these directives will benefit the nation and the West by coordinating agency efforts, reducing inefficiency and creating new efficiencies to “minimize unnecessary regulatory burdens and foster more efficient decision-making so that water projects are better able to meet the demands of their authorized purposes.”
- Within 30 days, identify water infrastructure projects with shared Interior and Commerce authorities under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) or individual responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), identify regulations and procedures that potentially burden the projects, designate a single official to coordinate the agencies’ ESA and NEPA compliance responsibilities, and develop, for consideration by the Secretaries, a proposed plan, to appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind any regulations or procedures that unduly burden the projects.
- Within 40 days, the secretaries of Interior and Commerce shall develop a timeline for completing applicable environmental compliance requirements for such shared-responsibility, ESA- and NEPA-related projects.
- Under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN), the secretaries of Interior and Commerce shall complete and issue an updated Plan of Operations and Record of Decision for their ongoing review of the long-term coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project.
- Before January 31, 2019, the Secretary of the Interior shall issue final biological assessments for the long-term coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project.
- Before June 15, 2019, the secretaries of Interior and Commerce shall issue final biological opinions for the long-term coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project, making joint opinions where possible and individual opinions where otherwise required by law.
California and Oregon:
- By August 31, 2019, the secretaries of Interior and Commerce shall complete the current joint consultation regarding the Klamath Irrigation Project.
Columbia River Basin:
- Within 60 days, the secretaries of Interior, Commerce and Energy, with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works under the direction of the Secretary of the Army, shall submit to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality their joint schedule to complete the Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement and the associated Biological Opinion due by 2020.
The Nation and the West:
- By January 31, 2019, the secretaries of Interior and Commerce shall convene water experts and resource managers, complete an action plan to improve the information and modeling capabilities related to water availability and water infrastructure projects pursuant to the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, and submit the plan to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.
- The Secretary of the Interior shall direct appropriate bureaus to promote the expanded use of technology for improving the accuracy and reliability of water and power deliveries pursuant to the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act, the Water Desalination Act of 1996, and other applicable laws, so as to enable broader scale deployment of Desalination technology, broader scale use of Recycled Water, and improve Water Management, using best available science through real-time monitoring of wildlife and water deliveries.
- The secretaries of Interior and Commerce shall participate in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing activities for hydroelectric projects and shall give appropriate consideration to relevant information contained in locally developed plans.
The California Water Alliance is a non-profit statewide water policy, education and advocacy group that promotes achieving a safe, reliable and adequate water supply for all Californians and seeks long-term solutions to the continuing water emergencies and droughts afflicting California. Get involved. Visit www.CaliforniaWaterAlliance.org