The Biden government suggested a new rule that would give the state more flexibility to oppose energy development and other projects by allowing them to oversee water quality clearances.
This is reversing a Trump-era rule that made it difficult to prevent such projects.
He’s Destroying America
On June 2, the Environmental Agency (EPA) announced the release of a proposed rule that would modernize the regulatory criteria for water certification under Section 401 of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
States, tribes, and territories had wide discretion under Article 401 of the Clean Water Act to suspend or force revisions to infrastructure investments, based on water quality compliance requirements.
President Trump changed Section 401 to limit the timeliness and extent of a state or tribe’s authority to apply conditions to water quality licenses given by the federal agency. This was done in an effort to speed up the building of power generation.
Remember when Joe Biden promised his oil reserve release would lower gas prices?
Prices have increased 56 cents in the last month.
— Daniel Turner (@DanielTurnerPTF) June 3, 2022
Last year, the Biden administration indicated its intention to undo significant Trump-era measures, claiming they weakened state and tribal power to safeguard water supplies.
The EPA’s proposed regulation would give states, tribes, and territories more control over water certification.
By focusing evaluations on pollutant flows into rivers and wetlands, the Trump-era rule narrowed the scope of local studies to possible impacts on water quality.
“As per the EPA information sheet, the new EPA plan aims to restore “the larger and more ecologically beneficial scope of assessment.”
“This methodology allows a certifying body to examine the water quality implications comprehensively,” according to the EPA.
“Any part of the project activity having the potential to influence water quality may be evaluated by certifying bodies.”
The new plan would also allow local governments a say in establishing what constitutes a “fair length of time” for such assessments.
People Are Not Happy
Environmental and indigenous organizations applauded the initiative, but officials from the fossil fuel sector raised reservations.
We need to get more US oil & gas production online now! President Biden has made it clear that he thinks high gas prices will break our dependence on fossil fuels.
Breaking the bank accounts of the American people – while you listen to Green New Deal activists – is unacceptable.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) June 4, 2022
In a release, National Tribal Waters Council Chairman Ken Norton stated, “The CWA Section 401 certificates serve as the first and often the only line of protection safeguarding tribal waterways from pollution discharge flowing through and onto our reservation grounds.”
“Strengthening the 401 certification regulation protects the environmental and cultural values of our tribal countries,” he continued.
The new EPA plan, according to Jon Devine, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s head of federal water policy, would leave waterways “kept safe by individuals who truly understand local water resources, driven by science and law.”
The American Gas Association’s president and Chief executive officer, Karen Harbert, said in a release the Biden plan would raise burdensome regulations on firms trying to construct energy infrastructure, making it more expensive.
“Getting licenses and authorization for a pipeline should not take longer than building one,” Harbert said during a release.