Last May, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released draft “waters of the U.S.” guidance that would clarify which waters would be subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Waters Act (CWA).
At that time, the National League of Cities (NLC), along with other public sector interest groups, submitted comments on the Draft Guidance, requesting that EPA and the Corps move forward with a rulemaking process that features an open and transparent means of proposing and establishing regulations and ensures that state, local, and private entity concerns are fully considered and properly addressed. A primary concern of NLC was that the guidance would expand the scope of the definition of “waters of the U.S.” from the current 404 Permit program to the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and water quality standards programs and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program.
In response to the letter from NLC and other groups, EPA agreed to stop work on the guidance document and move forward with a formal federalism consultation process that would ensure the participation of state and local government organizations. EPA stopped the formal rulemaking process, however, and went ahead and sent a final guidance document to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), with an anticipated release in April 2012. NLC submitted a letter to OMB in March, again expressing concerns with moving forward with a guidance document.
On March 28, 2012, the US Senate introduced S.2245, a bill to prevent EPA and the Corps from moving forward with the “waters of the U.S.” guidance. Georgia Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson are both cosponsors of the bill. GMA will continue to monitor progress on this issue. In the meantime, please thank Senator Chambliss and Senator Isakson for their support of Georgia’s cities in cosponsoring S.2245.
If you have additional questions, please contact Becky Taylor
of the GMA staff.