NACo joins coalition opposed to Clean Water Act
The Washington-based National Association of Counties (NACo) has joined the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC), a group of public and private entities opposed to the movement in Congress toward broadening the Clean Water Act (CWA). WAC members are concerned that a proposed redefinition of the term “navigable waters” in the CWA could lead to excessive federal regulation.
The term “navigable waters” could be changed to “waters of the United States.” If the new language is approved, it could mean that counties would need a federal CWA permit for any project that would impact “waters of the United States,” a term that would encompass ditches and gutters worn by stormwater runoff. The change is meant to protect wetlands.
NACo wants city streets, gutters and man-made ditches excluded from the CWA requirements. It claims that the change could result in an unfunded mandate in which federal regulators require local governments to expand their water quality regulation efforts. Also, the process of receiving a CWA permit from the Army Corps of Engineers can be lengthy and expensive. More information can be found at the NACo Web site, www.naco.org.