EPA Limits States’ Water Quality Powers

“This rollback is in direct conflict with the Clean Water Act…”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new EPA rule undermines states’ and tribes’ ability to ensure that federally approved projects comply with water quality standards.

“The administration’s attack on clean water and public health continues. This latest rule undercuts states’ and tribes’ abilities to protect their communities from harmful projects — such as dams, pipelines and mines — that can harm rivers, streams and drinking water,” said Jim Murphy, director of legal advocacy for the National Wildlife Federation. “This rollback is in direct conflict with the Clean Water Act and is the latest action in a larger effort to strip away our nation’s long-standing clean water protections.”

Section 401 of the Clean Water Act gives states and tribes the right to certify that a federally licensed or permitted project meets state water quality standards. The new rule gives federal agencies the ability to overturn state decisions, and the rule dramatically constricts the scope of review the states and tribes can conduct. The rule also creates new deadlines that will effectively limit states’ and tribes’ ability to meaningfully analyze the impacts of these complex projects.

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