Jul 14, 2011

EPA: Administration Statement on Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act

Officials strongly oppose H.R. 2018 as it could adversely affect public health, the economy and the environment

Under the Clean Water Act, one of the nation’s most successful and effective environmental laws, the federal government acts to ensure safe levels of water quality across the country through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Since the enactment of the Act in 1972, the federal government has protected the waterways our citizens depend on by using its checks and balances authority to review and adjust key state water pollution control decisions, where necessary, to assure that they reflect up to date science, comply with the law and protect downstream water users.
H.R. 2018 would roll back the key provisions of the Act that have been the underpinning of 40 years of progress in making the nation’s waters fishable and drinkable.
H.R. 2018 could limit efforts to safeguard communities by removing the federal government’s authority to take action when state water quality standards are not protective of public health. In addition, it would restrict EPA’s authority to take action when it finds that a state’s Act permit or permit program is inadequate and would shorten EPA’s review and collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers on permits for dredged or fill material.
All of these changes could result in adverse impacts to human health, the economy and the environment through increased pollution and degradation of water bodies that serve as venues for recreation and tourism, and that provide drinking water sources and habitat for fish and wildlife.

H.R. 2018 would disrupt the carefully constructed complementary Act roles for EPA, the Army Corps and states in protecting water quality. It also could eliminate EPA’s ability to protect water quality and public health in downstream states and could increase the number of lawsuits challenging state permits.