EPA Ensures States, Tribes Can Protect Their Waterways from Harm

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule today that restores the ability of states and authorized Tribes to weigh in on federally permitted projects that could pollute or harm their waters, and to limit their adverse impacts. EPA reconsidered a regulation under section 401 of the Clean Water Act relating to projects such as pipelines, hydroelectric dams, or dredge-and-fill activities. Through a prior regulation, the previous administration had hamstrung states and Tribes by shortening the time they had to act, limiting the amount of information they had to act on, and restricting the harmful effects they could consider.   

Jon Devine, director of federal water policy at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), made the following statement:

“EPA is exactly right to undo this pro-polluter rollback.

“States and Tribes are often on the front lines of protecting critical water bodies. The Clean Water Act empowers state and Tribal officials to ensure that major projects permitted by the federal government do not harm their rivers or waterways.

“It is a very big deal, for example, in the West, for states to be able to establish ‘minimum instream flows’ when a hydropower project is built or reauthorized. EPA’s rule restores the unique and important role of states and Tribes in keeping waterways healthy.”

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Established in 1970, NRDC uses science, policy, law, and people power to confront the climate crisis, protect public health, and safeguard nature. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, Beijing and Delhi (an office of NRDC India Pvt. Ltd). Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC

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