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Serious Questions Raised About Impact of Clean Water Act Changes

Clean Water Act

The House Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment has heard testimony from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps officials on the potential impact of the agencies’ proposed changes to the Clean Water Act.  These proposed revisions to the Act are so overly broad that even artificial ponds used to store rainwater to prevent runoff would be federally regulated. As crafted, the changes would create significant financial burdens for small businesses without necessarily any improved water quality.

Even EPA’s own Science Advisory Board has raised serious questions about a draft version of the report.  Additionally, a group of 14 Democratic members of the House sent a letter to EPA and the Corps urging them to complete the science before proceeding with the rulemaking – just one of numerous letters from Members of Congress that have been filed with the agencies.

A recent review of EPA and Corps’ analysis prepared by a University of California-Berkley economist found that the methodology used to determine the potential costs for the rule was so flawed that it was “virtually meaningless” and recommended that the agencies completely withdraw the report. NAA/NMHC also issued a related statement on the review that was sent to key staff and leadership on the Hill the day before the June 11 hearing.

EPA and the Corps have already responded to our concerns, filed in coordination with the Waters Advocacy Coalition, that they were inappropriately rushing to finalize a rule. As a result, the agencies have extended the comment period to Oct. 20. In addition to the work being done on the Hill, the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously approved a resolution at their 82nd Annual Meeting in Dallas on June 23, which asks EPA and the Corps to engage local governments and other stakeholders and fully address concerns raised by these groups prior to finalizing the rule. 

Provided by NMHC as part of the NAA/NMHC Joint Legislative Program