Recently, EPA has issued a final rule on Clean Water act that helps ensure US energy security & limits the misuse of the act. EPA ensures that this final rule will increase the transparency and efficiency of the Clean Water Act Section 401 (Section 401) certification process in order to promote the timely review of infrastructure projects while continuing to ensure that people of America will have clean water for drinking and recreation.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has stated “EPA is returning the Clean Water Act certification process under Section 401 to its original purpose, which is to review potential impacts that discharges from federally permitted projects may have on water resources, not to indefinitely delay or block critically important infrastructure. Today, we are following through on President Trump’s Executive Order to curb abuses of the Clean Water Act that have held our nation’s energy infrastructure projects hostage, and to put in place clear guidelines that finally give these projects a path forward”.

In accordance to the direction of Executive Order 13868, “Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth” EPA has finalized this rule. In this same order President of United states has ordered EPA to review Section 401 and EPA’s related regulations and guidance to determine whether the agency’s policies should be updated or clarified.

Listed below were the highlights of the Final rule:

●  It specifies statutory and regulatory timelines for review and action on a Section 401 certification—requiring final action to be taken within one year of receiving a certification request.

●  It is clarifying that the scope of Section 401, including clarifying that 401 certifications is triggered based on the potential for a project to result in a discharge from a point source into a water of the United States. When states look at issues other than the impact on water quality, they go beyond the scope of the Clean Water Act.

●  It also explains EPA’s roles under Section 401.

●  It reaffirms the agency’s statutory responsibility to provide technical assistance to any party involved in a Section 401 water quality certification process.

●  It promotes early engagement and coordination among project proponents, certifying authorities and federal licensing and permitting agencies.




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