Order Fuel




 




 
- DTN Headline News
CWA Rule Pressure
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 7:17AM CDT

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

(DTN) -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said in a comment letter to the U.S. EPA recently that states are far more equipped to regulate waters.

What's more, Pennsylvania's top environmental agency called on the EPA to withdraw the proposed rule redefining "waters of the U.S." and engage in a process that includes input from state agencies and public hearings. EPA has received more than 415,000 public comments ahead of the now-Nov. 14 public comment deadline on the proposed rule.

"The rule as drafted creates more confusion than it clarifies, and is already subject to differing interpretations by EPA and ACOE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) staff," the Pennsylvania letter said. "This confusion will delay permitting and could undermine strong state programs."

Don Parrish, senior director of regulatory relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the comments coming from the state of Pennsylvania should catch EPA's attention on the importance of state-federal partnerships in regulating water.

"Note that it completely undermines a number of EPA talking points on expanded jurisdiction," he said. "It eviscerates the credibility of an Environmental Law Institute study as a rationale for EPA's proposed rule."

Parrish refers to claims by a May 2013 Environmental Law Institute study that two-thirds of states have laws that could restrict the authority of state regulators to protect waters left uncovered by the Clean Water Act.

In the letter, Pennsylvania authorities outline the state's clean streams law and how it fits into federal Clean Water Act implementation, making the case that the state law "the scope of protected waters is not subject to confusion or debate, but is clear and comprehensive."

The state said in its letter that it was "frustrated, disappointed and frankly, alarmed, to discover that in formulating this rulemaking, EPA is relying on inadequate and inaccurate information regarding the breadth and scope of state law programs.

In the letter, the state said EPA has expressed unfamiliarity with state laws and instead relies on the ELI study as reason for justifying the need for the rule "because state programs to protect water resources are lacking, and purporting that the proposed rule will address states' regulatory loopholes. EPA has asserted that Pennsylvania is one such state. This characterization and assertion by EPA is completely erroneous and reflects a lack of due diligence and coordination with states."

In 2013, Pennsylvania provided 13,066 state law water program authorizations, including 4,914 in the Clean Water Act's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System program. "These numbers represent the extensive state law oversight in Pennsylvania over projects which affect or have the potential affect waters of the commonwealth," the letter said. In fact, the state said 62% of the 2013 water-related permits were issued via state authority and not through the Clean Water Act.

The new waters of the U.S. definition in the rule would render the state's permitting in federal programs "more cumbersome and confusing," Pennsylvania officials said. In addition, EPA's simultaneous review of connectivity science and the public comment period on the rule "provides a major obstacle in providing substantive comments and recommendations regarding the scientific basis for the validity of the obligations established in the rule." The state said it recommends EPA allow the public a 60- or 90-day review and public comment period to allow for input on the relationship the study has to the rule.

Although EPA has stated the rule is necessary in order to clarify Clean Water Act jurisdiction and to take some of the guesswork out of making determinations, the state said in its letter that the application of a significant nexus analysis would lead to "exchanging one collection of uncertainties for another."

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow Todd on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

(CC\SK)


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Katie Micik
Markets Editor
Friday, October 17, 2014 7:21PM CDT
Thursday, October 16, 2014 7:06PM CDT
Monday, October 13, 2014 3:47PM CDT
Technically Speaking
Darin Newsom
DTN Senior Analyst
Sunday, October 19, 2014 1:33PM CDT
Saturday, October 18, 2014 3:14PM CDT
Monday, October 13, 2014 1:05PM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Friday, October 17, 2014 12:08PM CDT
Friday, October 10, 2014 12:40PM CDT
Thursday, October 9, 2014 1:45PM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Friday, October 17, 2014 12:00AM CDT
Thursday, October 16, 2014 7:29PM CDT
Sunday, October 12, 2014 9:30PM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Taylor
DTN Executive Editor
Thursday, October 16, 2014 7:27PM CDT
Friday, October 10, 2014 8:52PM CDT
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 6:09PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Friday, October 17, 2014 7:40PM CDT
Thursday, October 16, 2014 5:16PM CDT
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 3:47PM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 8:50PM CDT
Friday, September 19, 2014 7:15PM CDT
Thursday, September 4, 2014 11:19AM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Friday, October 10, 2014 6:31PM CDT
Friday, October 3, 2014 6:08PM CDT
Sunday, September 21, 2014 11:59PM CDT
South America Calling
Alastair Stewart
South America Correspondent
Thursday, October 16, 2014 5:15PM CDT
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 9:04PM CDT
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 9:04PM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Friday, October 17, 2014 12:29PM CDT
Monday, October 13, 2014 11:30AM CDT
Monday, October 6, 2014 10:57AM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Jim Patrico
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Thursday, October 16, 2014 1:47PM CDT
Friday, October 10, 2014 6:23PM CDT
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 7:28PM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Friday, October 17, 2014 9:16PM CDT
Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:11AM CDT
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 9:45PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Friday, October 17, 2014 11:16AM CDT
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 4:28PM CDT
Thursday, October 2, 2014 5:01PM CDT
 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN