Comments on a new proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would weaken the ability of states to regulate their own waters are due October 21. The rule, reported on in the August 16 ABRA Update, would bring tighten the time requirements by which a state must act on a Section 401 certification for infrastructure projects (like natural gas pipelines), and provide the EPA the right to treat a state’s denial of a 401 certificate as if it were a waiver, thus effectively giving the EPA a veto over a state’s action on a 401 certificate issue. The EPA plans to finalize the new rule in May 2020. A copy of the rule and information on how to submit comments is available here.
ABRA members are urged to review the rule and to submit comments objecting to the limiting of authority to regulate its own waters. Members are also urged to contact Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and ask that he submit comments to the EPA in opposition to the proposed rule. He can be contacted at: Office of the Attorney General, 202 North Ninth Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219; by email at ; or by phone at 804-786-2071