RCAP represented on national EPA advisory council

July 30, 2010 | Climate Change, EPA


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council held its summer meeting July 21 through 23 in Washington, D.C. In attendance to represent the national RCAP network was Olga Morales-Sanchez, a Rural Development Specialist with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation, the Western RCAP. Morales-Sanchez was nominated to the council by the RCAP national office.
Morales-Sanchez is enthusiastic about her participation on this elite council, working with the EPA and other related organizations to voice concerns and resolve issues related to the assurance of safe drinking water.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to be a part of this council because [I] get to represent all of the communities that we, as RCAP, serve throughout the nation,” explained Morales-Sanchez. “We have the opportunity to voice the concerns, the issues and the challenges, so I think it parallels with the missions that the RCAPs have across the nation.”
Morales-Sanchez is also co-chair of the council’s 21-member climate-ready water utilities working group. In this role, she lends her knowledge of climate change to a larger discussion on preparedness and tries to guide fellow members through the challenges of getting water systems to be climate-ready.
At the conference, three of the group’s members, including Morales-Sanches, presented an update on the group’s progress. The group provided the council with the framework of a report they have been developing, what Morales-Sanchez referred to as “the meat and bones” of a formal presentation they will make in the fall. The council will receive the group’s report at that meeting and make any modifications before presenting it to the EPA with the recommendations it will contain.
Jeff Cooley, a former employee of Community Resource Group, the Southern RCAP, also sits on the council. Now a Utilities Division Operations Manager for the city of Vacaville, Calif., Cooley is also a member of the climate-ready water utilities working group and presented with Morales-Sanchez at the meeting.
Other topics the council discussed included environmental justice, addressed in a discussion by an EPA staff member, the Toxic Substance Control Act, group contaminants under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and Clean Water Act integration.
In representing RCAP on the council, Morales-Sanchez is able to further her personal objective “to give a voice to small, rural, disadvantaged communities that are, in most cases, voiceless, and make sure that their issues and concerns are brought before EPA when it comes to regulatory issues,” a purpose that gets to the heart of the RCAP mission.