Wednesday, June 28, 2017

State Environmental Secretaries Hope For Full Collaboration In Developing New Waters Of U.S. Rule

Responding to U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposal Tuesday to withdraw the agency’s 2015 Waters of the U.S. Rule, the Environmental Council Of States expressed hope for a future collaborative process that ensures protection of human health and the environment.
"Today's proposed rule is a key step in creating an opportunity to develop a regulatory approach to defining waters of the United States in a fully collaborative fashion,” said ECOS President John Linc Stine, Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “We look forward to a productive, results-oriented conversation among states, EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and all stakeholders to provide greater regulatory certainty and clarity, and to ensure that waters are protected by an appropriate allocation of state and federal laws, regulations, programs, and resources."
Last week, ECOS sent Pruitt a comment letter on the redefinition of waters of the U.S. following the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order on “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.”
In the letter, the association requests that EPA and the Corps engage states and other parties with significant interest in the ultimate WOTUS regulation via a negotiated rulemaking.
[Note: Republican and Democratic Secretaries of DEP in Pennsylvania have said the repeal of the waters of the U.S. rule will have no impact here because state laws are stronger than federal laws in protecting streams, rivers and wetlands as waters of the Commonwealth.  But it will cause confusion among individuals expecting federal rules to apply in the state.
[The Secretaries of DEP, DCNR, Agriculture and the Fish and Boat Commission pointed out that fact and the potential for confusion in a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on June 19.]
Click Here for ECOS materials related to the President’s FY18 EPA budget.
For more information on initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Environmental Council Of States website.

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