Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 introduced
By Tina Grady Barbaccia
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla.) and the Committee’s Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-W. Va.) introduced H.R. 2018, the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011,” in the House. The bill amends the Clean Water Act (CWA), which would allocate the primary responsibilities for water pollution control to the states.
The bill restricts the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to second-guess or delay a state’s permitting and water quality certification decisions under the CWA once the EPA has already approved a state’s program, according to a written press statement from Mica’s office.
Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and U.S. Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) are the original co-sponsors of the proposed legislation.
“Under the Obama Administration, EPA continues to strangle economic growth in this country with its overreaching and arbitrary regulatory regime,” Mica says in the press statement. “This bill will help ensure a common sense regulatory regime that does not unnecessarily harm our nation’s farmers, miners, and other businesses critical to our economy. We must restore and preserve the federal-state partnership that is the foundation of the Clean Water Act, but which is being progressively undermined by EPA.”
The “long arm” superimposed a water-permitting regime that Rahall, the bill’s co-sponsor, says, “amounts to a confused hodgepodge of unwritten requirements and unexplainable goals.
“This legislation aims to instill greater certainty and fairness in the system. It intends to help prevent the EPA from steamrolling state permitting programs, ensuring that the states are truly partners with the federal government in protecting water quality throughout the nation,” Rahall added.
Gibbs, Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee chairman, notes that as the U.S. economy struggles to get back on track, “the EPA continues its assault on what could prove to be the most costly, burdensome, and expansive set of job-destroying regulations ever crafted.”
However, Gibbs says that by “preserving the state’s role in this partnership, we can begin to reign in EPA’s runaway regulations to save countless jobs and protect our economy from the tens of billions of dollars their backdoor energy policies would cost.”
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