The Success of the Clean Water Act (CWA) over the last 40 years is largely due to the partnership the Act established between the federal government and the states, a partnership that limits federal regulatory power to “navigable waters” rather than all waters. This limitation also provides states with the primary authority to determine water quality goals and implementation measures for achieving those goals. Importantly, the CWA reserves regulation of “nonpoint” sources – such as agriculture – to the states. This system of cooperative federalism allows states to weigh the costs and benefits of land use and economic growth decisions and environmental concerns, and establish policy that effectively balances these sometimes competing priorities.
EPA is now attempting to do by regulation what was not authorized by Congressional legislation. In 2011, EPA sought public comments on a controversial regulatory “Guidance” document. This proposed regulation will include the controversial language expanding EPA’s regulation to all waters expanding EPA’s authority to regulate any or all waters found within a state – no matter how small, dry or seemingly unconnected to any federal interest.
- Define the "Waters of the U.S."
- Protect the integrity of the CWA
- Maintain State Primacy on TMDL's, land use planning and nonpoint source programs
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