60+ Groups Oppose EPA Rule Changes

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (October 29, 2019) — The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed rule changes that will likely make it harder for states and tribes to protect local rivers, lakes, streams and other waters. The change to the Clean Water Act’s Section 401 water quality certification process would severely curtail the ability of states and tribes to have a say in federally permitted projects and limit the scope of their authority to protect state waters and the environment.

The Healing Our Waters – Great Lake Coalition submitted comments opposing the rule change and urging the EPA to reconsider.

“If finalized as it stands today,” the coalition wrote, “[the rule changes] would represent a major shift in how Section 401 of the Clean Water Act is implemented and enforced by states and tribes, forcing many to curtail their review process and make hasty decisions that will only serve to weaken our clean water protections.”

In the comments, the coalition highlighted the critical balance between federal, state and local authorities that this rule change would upend. The EPA’s Section 401 water quality certification process is an essential tool for state and tribal governments to protect the water resources that communities depend on for drinking water, wildlife habitats, safe opportunities for recreation, and much more. The 401 framework recognizes the crucial partnership between federal authorities and local stakeholders, and these changes would undermine the basis of that partnership.

The Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition strongly opposes this rule change, and urges the EPA to withdraw its proposal and work cooperatively to empower states and tribes to proactively protect their waters.