The purpose of the bill is to reaffirm Congress’ commitment to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters, as called for in the Clean Water Act (CWA) and to overturn the Trump administration’s WOTUS rule. The legislation directs the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a new rule within two years of enactment to prevent degradation of surface water quality; increased contaminant levels in drinking water sources; increased flooding-related risks to human life or property; and disproportionate adverse impacts on minority or low-income populations.
A chart outlining Federal Appropriations and Proposed Budgets for several fiscal years for key Clean Water Act Programs.
ACWA-ECOS joint letter in support of the Clean Water SRF submitted to House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment
States are the primary authority for allocating, administering, protecting, and developing water resources, and they are primarily responsible for water supply planning within their boundaries. States have the ultimate say in the management of their water resources and are best suited to speak to the unique nature of western water law and hydrology. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), Congress deliberately preserved states’ authority to manage and protect their water resources by establishing a system of cooperative federalism through which states serve as co-regulators for the implementation and enforcement of federal statutory programs. CWA Section 401 represents a critical state authority which protect states’ authority over water resources and ensures that states have a meaningful role in the certification of federal permits and licenses for projects that may affect water quality in a state.The CWA Section 401 Process Improvements have been developed in collaboration with associations of state officials and are intended to identify possible reforms to the water quality certification program that do not compromise or curtail states’ well-established legal authority to manage and protect their water resources. As states are co-regulators with the federal government in administering the CWA, it is critical that states be afforded early, meaningful, substantive, and ongoing consultation in the development of any changes to the Section 401 program or to the balance of state and federal authority under the statute.
A chart of EPA’s budget including the FY 2019 omnibus bill
ACWA joined a broad coalition of organizations in urging Congress to provide funding for water, wastewater, stormwater and reuse infrastructure projects in any infrastructure funding packages considered during the 116th Congress.
We urge you to reject any changes to agency rules, guidance, and/or policy that may diminish, impair, or subordinate states’ well-established sovereign and statutory authorities to protect water quality within their boundaries. Any regulatory action related to states’ CWA Section 401 authority raises significant federalism concerns, and therefore, we request that EPA engage in meaningful and substantive consultation with state officials before the commencement of such action.
With the adoption of the CWA, Congress purposefully designated states as co-regulators under a system of cooperative federalism that recognizes state authority over the allocation, administration, protection, and development of water resources. Section 101 of the CWA clearly expresses Congress’s intent to:
…recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution, to plan the development and use (including restoration, preservation, and enhancement) of land and water resources, and to consult with the Administrator in the exercise of his authority under this chapter.
This declaration demonstrates Congress’s understanding that a one-size-fits-all approach to water management and protection does not accommodate the practical realities of geographic and hydrologic diversity among states.
Letter to congressional leadership on CWA Section 401.
ACWA joined the Western Governors Association and others in communicating to Congressional Leadership our concerns with recent efforts to limit state section 401 authority under the Clean Water Act.
The new ACWA FY2018-FY2022 Strategic Plan calls on ACWA to periodically determine its priorities in each of the following areas: Clean Water Act policy, grants and funding, partnerships and collaboration, management of the association, other matters as appropriate, requires the identification of association priorities on an annual basis.
ACWA’s written testimony submitted to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee regarding the April 18, 2018 hearing entitled, The Appropriate Role of States and the Federal Government in Protecting Groundwater.