County engineer testifies against Clean Water Restoration Act
The removal of one word from the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) proposed in new legislation, the Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA), could have “expensive, far-reaching and unintended consequences” for counties, Madison County, Ohio, Engineer David Brand told a congressional committee on Wednesday.The word is “navigable,” and if the legislation is passed without that limitation on federal authority of waters in the United States, Brand says, counties could face layers of new paperwork to undertake the simplest projects.
Brand appeared before the Environment and Public Works Committee on behalf of the Washington-based National Association of Counties and the National Association of County Engineers. He said that, while most counties support the CWA, the proposal to expand its reach to virtually every body of water through the CWRA would overburden the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit program. “There could be a limitless possibility of future federal permits required to allow counties to do things such as construct a new driveway or simply cross a swale on an individual’s property,” Brand said in his testimony.” Work in manmade ditches that are often maintained by counties, such as culverts and storm channels, could be subject to time-consuming federal permitting if CWRA passes with the current language, he says.
Brand’s full testimony is available at www.naco.org.