EPA and Army Work Together to Address Clean Water Act Certification RuleFri, 20 Aug 2021 12:32:00 CDT
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army issued a joint memorandum regarding implementation of the 2020 Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification Rule associated with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) permits. EPA and Army are closely coordinating to address challenges and better empower states and Tribes to protect public health and the environment.
“While EPA moves expeditiously to revise the 2020 rule, it is essential that the agencies address pressing implementation challenges that have been raised by our co-regulators,” Radhika Fox, assistant administrator at the Office of Water, for the EPA, said. “Today’s action provides guidance to maximize flexibilities and support the authority of states and Tribes to protect their waters.”
Additionally, Jaime A. Pinkham, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, made the following statement.
“Today’s joint memorandum demonstrates another area where EPA and Army are working closely together to listen to our co-regulators under the Clean Water Act,” Pinkham said. “We believe today’s action will ensure improved implementation of the 401 certification process as it relates to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued authorizations to provide the maximum flexibility for states and Tribes to best govern their water resources.”
While the rulemaking effort is underway, today’s joint memorandum provides direction to the Corps related to implementation of the 2020 rule. The joint memorandum directs the Corps to provide the maximum amount of time allowed before finalizing 41 Nationwide Permits (NWPs) that were proposed in September 2020 and have not yet been finalized. The joint memorandum also addresses multiple implementation challenges with the 2020 Rule associated with Corps-issued permits, including by directing the Corps to work collaboratively with states and Tribes to:
· Identify factors and circumstances that warrant extending the reasonable period of time.
· Resolve procedural deficiencies within the reasonable period of time.
· Identify and address circumstances that may appropriately require permit modifications.
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