CDC offering vaccine webinar for U.S. water system personnel The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will host a webinar on COVID-19 vaccinations for drinking water and wastewater personnel at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday. The webinar will cover vaccine distribution, implementation, safety and efficacy. Registration is available online . AWWA recommends that those interested register as soon as possible as slots are limited. The CDC encourages participants to submit questions at the time of registration. The agency adjusted its vaccine prioritization guidance in December, placing water and wastewater workers in the “Other Essential Workers” category, which is now part of Phase 1C. The new Phase 1B consists of people at least 75 years of age and frontline essential workers. Phase 1C includes people 65-74 years of age, people between 16-64 years of age with high-risk medical conditions and other essential workers. Most states have adopted CDC’s revised prioritization, but the actual distribution remains a state health department decision. AWWA seeking suggestions for lead rule guidance AWWA expects to see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepare guidance for the recent Revised Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) and is preparing suggestions to send to EPA in the interest of making the rule clearer. If there are specific requirements you feel need clarification and should be addressed in guidance, please send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include a specific citation or page from the rule’s Federal Register notice if possible. If you are looking for a quick introduction to the federal Revised LCR, see the archived copy of AWWA’s Jan. 28 webinar, “ Final Lead and Copper Rule Revisions – What it Means for Water Systems .” AWWA’s Lead Resource page has additional resources. Committee leadership forming in U.S. Congress While certain Congressional committees relevant to water are still taking shape, some significant leadership spots have been determined. They include: House Energy and Commerce Committee (jurisdiction over drinking water): Chair Frank Pallone, D-N.J.; Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change (more direct jurisdiction over drinking water): Chair Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Ranking Member David McKinley, R-W. Va. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (drinking water and wastewater): Chair Tom Carper, D-Del.; Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va. House Committee on Appropriations (funding of federal programs): Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; Ranking Member Kay Granger, R-Texas House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies (funding for EPA programs): Chair Chellie Pingree, D-Maine; Ranking Member David Joyce, R-Ohio House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (jurisdiction over wastewater): Chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.; Ranking Member Sam Graves, R-Mo. WIFIA project eligibility webinar coming; more loans close EPA will host a free webinar from 2-3:30 p.m. ET Feb. 23 to describe the different types of projects eligible for loans under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and to help participants determine if their projects would be a good fit for a WIFIA loan. Registration is available online . In other WIFIA news, EPA announced the closure of two loans in the country’s Pacific Northwest. Beaverton, Ore ., is receiving an $81.1 million loan for a combination of projects to enhance the reliability and resiliency of its water system and to address growth. It will involve construction of new water mains, new or improved connections to neighboring systems, additional seismically resilient storage, expansion of service, advanced metering and stormwater reuse. EPA estimates the project will serve 90,000 people and create 530 jobs. King County, Wash., is receiving its second WIFIA loan, this one for $96.8 million for its Ship Canal Water Quality Project . It will improve local water quality through combined sewer overflow discharges into the Lake Washington Ship Canal, which flow into Puget Sound, by about 90 percent. EPA estimates this project will serve 175,000 people and create 632 jobs. Court action may pave way for future climate-related regulation The Washington, D.C., Circuit Court has ruled against the Trump Administration’s attempt to replace the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), paving the way for its possible return. The ruling came in American Lung Association v. EPA and found that Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACER) had interpreted the limitations of the Clean Air Act too narrowly in justifying the change from the CPP. A key difference in ACER was its entire focus “within the fence line” of power plants to improve efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. The ruling means there could be a revised regulatory framework including outside-the-fence-line activities such as efficiency and the use of renewable energy to lower and offset power plant emissions. It is likely that challenges to these rules will continue to work through the court system, making immediate impacts unlikely. Independent of this litigation, the Biden Administration has made climate change a high priority, with a focus on environmental justice and envisioning considerable attention to adaptation as well as a transition to carbon-free power sources by 2050.