For the past 51 years, the Sacramento Metro Chamber organizes a delegation of hundreds of area-elected officials and business leaders to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress and federal agency representatives. The Capitol-to-Capitol (or “Cap-to-Cap”) program is not a conference; it is an advocacy program that seeks to support regulatory reform, secure funding and resources for high-priority projects in the region, and raise local concerns to officials at the national level. It also allows us to gain insight from Washington, D.C. regarding upcoming legislation and the political climate long before anyone else. The delegation was 400 strong this year – the largest in history – and included over 100 elected officials. The balance was composed of developers, attorneys, health care executives, public safety officials, water resources engineers, mitigation bankers, and others. As in past years, very few environmental consultants were represented, making this a unique and client-rich experience that facilitates relationship building with our elected officials and clients in an environment unlike anything else we do. ECORP has been sending representatives of senior management for many years. Lisa Westwood and Dave Krolick are ECORP’s current representatives and have been participating for years.
The delegation is organized into teams: Air Quality, Civic Amenities, Community Resources, Economic Development, Flood Protection, Food and Agriculture, Health Care, Land Use and Natural Resources (LUNR), Public Safety, Transportation, Water Resources, and Workforce and Education. Over the course of almost a week, the teams attend meetings with members of Congress and federal agency representatives to discuss the issues that matter the most to the team and California. Each team developed white papers in advance of the meetings to summarize the issues and articulate the requests. ECORP has long participated on the LUNR team, advancing issues important to both our public- and private-sector clients. This year, the LUNR team advanced two white papers:
REGIONAL GUIDANCE REQUESTED FOR THE 404 PROGRAM
Requested Action 1: We request guidance on the process that will follow today’s Sackett Ruling. We urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to provide clear guidance to District staff on the impact (if any) on the jurisdiction of wetlands and Waters of the United States. Because the ruling may require another update to the definitions of Waters of the United States, we request clarification on how the Corps will handle existing permits and the
preferred Corps headquarters process and expectations going forward so we may act in concert with Corps field staff.
Requested Action 2: Prepare Regional Guidance Letter on Permit Applications and the Declaration of Mitigation that:
- Allows the Army Corps to review and approve a menu of mitigation options with less specificity if the landowner is required to secure final Corps approval prior to groundbreaking. Use 33 CFR 332.3 k (3) as the basis to allow flexibility for individual permits to meet the standard.
- Allows applicants to obtain Corps approvals when wetlands credits have been purchased in approved (but unbuilt) banks where there are unreleased credits.
- Allows mitigation to be finalized concurrent with construction in exchange for greater assurances, if needed. Other state and federal agencies allow this more flexible approach to wetlands compliance.
Requested Action 3: Direct available infrastructure bill funding for additional staffing to the district level so that additional hiring can commence to keep up with federal infrastructure investment and economic and growth in the region.
CORPS APPENDIX C AND SECTION 106 OF THE NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT
Requested Action: Urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in consultation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the California State Historic Preservation Officer, to rescind Appendix C regulations and to develop and adopt clear guidance to implement Section 106 of the National
Historic Preservation Act regulations.
The LUNR team met with the offices of Congressman Mike Thompson, Senator Diane Feinstein, Congressman Ami Bera, Congressman Kevin Kiley, Congressman Doug LaMalfa, Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Congressman Tom McClintock, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We are happy to report that the meetings were a success, and now Dave and Lisa begin the task of drafting letters for Congressional representatives to send, as our issues advance through the process.
Left to right: Roy Brewer (attorney), Angela Spease (Director of the Board, Cosumnes Community Services District), Lisa Westwood, Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Rod Brewer (City councilman from Elk Grove), Vince McCarron (Westervelt), Dave Krolick
The LUNR team, Food & Ag team, and Flood Control team meeting with Senator Feinstein’s staff (left). Photo taken by Lisa Westwood, who is sitting in Senator Feinstein’s chair!
Sometimes, meeting rooms in the halls of Congress are filled to capacity. Here, the LUNR team had to meet in the hallway outside of Congressman Kevin Kiley’s office to discuss our issue papers. From left to right: Travis Hemmen (Westervelt), James Zandstra (Kevin Kiley’s office), Lisa Westwood, Anton Garcia (Taylor Builders), and Dan Beans (Electric Utility Director of Roseville Electric Utility).
Dinner at Founding Farmers. From left to right: Chris Norem (Political Director and Senior Policy Advisor for Northstate Building Industry, Derek Minnema (Executive Director of the Connector JPA), Dave Krolick, and Michael Bessette (Executive Director of the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency).
LUNR team at the EPA. From left to right: Vince McCarran (Westervelt), Rod Brewer (City councilman for Elk Grove), Dave Krolick, Lisa Westwood, Verna Sulpizio Hull (Councilmember from the City of West Sacramento), Andrea Howard (Parker Development), Christina Erwin (De Novo Planning), Julie Hanson (ATK Development), and Karm Bains (Sutter County Supervisor)