NAFSMA President Dusty Williams, General Manager and Chief Engineer for the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, on June 11, 2014, testified on behalf of NAFSMA and the National Association of Counties (NACo) regarding the impacts of the proposed changes to the Clean Water Act’s definition of “Waters of the US”.
When presenting the joint NAFSMA- NACo testimony, Williams raised concerns that the new definition would unnecessarily exacerbate project delays and increase costs for flood safety and prevention work at the local level. “These delays are extremely significant to local agencies responsible for maintaining public infrastructure, such as roadside ditches, flood control channels and stormwater systems designed to protect public safety by funneling water away from low-lying roads, properties and businesses to prevent accidents and flooding.”
It was clear during questioning of the federal officials that there was great concern on both sides of the aisles of the committee about the proposed rulemaking, with some of the members expressing very harsh criticism of the Administration for not adequately involving their state partners in development of the rulemaking.
Over 200 members of the House have signed onto a letter expressing opposition to the proposed rulemaking.
Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published the proposed rulemaking with a 90-day comment period that was set to close on July 21, 2014. This comment period has now been extended for another 91 days, in a joint announcement by EPA and the Corps on June 10, the day before the House hearing. Comments will now be due on the proposed Waters of the United States rulemaking on October 20, the Monday following NAFSMA’s 2014 Annual Meeting in Boston.