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NECA CEO Issues Statement on Finalized Clean Water Rule

May 27, 2015

"A Clear Representation of Federal Agency Overreach"

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today rolled out the finalized Clean Water Rule, which aims to protect water quality by clarifying which smaller bodies of water are federally protected under the Clean Water Act. The rule has attracted intense opposition.

The Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972, granted the federal government broad powers to limit pollution in so-called "navigable" waterways like the Great Lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. A pair of Supreme Court Decisions in 2001 and 2006, however, muddied the waters, according to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, making it unclear whether the act also covered smaller bodies like groundwater, headwaters, streams and wetlands that feed those larger waterways.

The Clean Water Rule restores some of that authority. For example, it defines and protects tributaries that could impact the health of downstream waters, and it protects waters that are next to rivers and lakes and their tributaries. It even applies to ditches when they "look, act and function like a tributary" that can carry pollution downstream.

The Clean Water Rule will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

NECA CEO John M. Grau issued the following statement on the Finalization of Waters of the United States Rule today:

May 27, 2015

“NECA is strongly opposed to the finalization of this rule, a clear representation of federal agency overreach. This is an attempt to replace longstanding state and local control of land uses near water with centralized federal control. This rule is simply too procedurally and legally flawed to repair. It is important that a new rule be developed that involves states, local governments and other stakeholders.”

-John M. Grau, NECA Chief Executive Officer