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Graves & Westerman Praise EPA Action to Protect Water Quality & Remove Barriers to Energy Projects

Washington, D.C., June 1, 2020 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, today commended the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement of its final rule limiting the Clean Water Act Section 401 process to its intended purpose of protecting water quality.

“This much needed clarification by the EPA provides clear timelines for Section 401 reviews, and also ensures that the regulatory process is properly used to protect water quality in the United States – not as a blunt instrument in a radical agenda to block energy projects,” Graves said.  “This rule is in keeping with the original intent of the Clean Water Act and removes the ability for endless partisan delay tactics for important energy infrastructure projects. This action by the Trump Administration could not come at a better time. The deregulatory agenda of this Administration has been critical to our economic strength before the crisis and now is critical to our economic recovery after the crisis.  I commend the EPA and the Administration for this decisive action.”

“I’ve always believed that environmental stewardship and domestic energy production should go hand-in-hand, and this final rule will support that goal,” said Westerman.  “The Clean Water Act was never intended as a tool to block critical energy infrastructure projects.  Instead, the EPA is now tailoring it to fulfill its original purpose – protecting American water resources from pollution – without being overly burdensome on our infrastructure.  This kind of proactive approach is exactly what we need, and I thank the Administration for their leadership.”

Clean Water Act Section 401 gives states and tribes authority to assess potential water quality impacts of discharges from federally permitted or licensed projects that may affect navigable waters within their borders.  The EPA rule establishes timelines for review and action in a 401 certification.  It also ensures that the 401 certification process remains within the scope of the Clean Water Act and is only used in verifying that a federally issued permit or license will result in the project complying with existing water quality requirements.

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