AGA Joins Comments Aug. 8, 2022 Urging EPA to Clarify Regulations Governing State Clean Water Act 401 Water Quality Certifications

AGA joined the attached two sets of comments filed August 8, 2022 on EPA’s notice of proposed rulemaking to revise its regulations governing state water quality reviews under Clean Water Act (CWA) section 401 for projects requiring federal permits for discharges to federal waters.  First, AGA and INGAA filed joint comments focusing on the impact of EPA’s proposal on natural gas pipelines and distribution systems.  Second, AGA joined a group of trade associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in high-level comments focusing on the impact of the proposal on the U.S. economy and infrastructure projects generally. 

We urged EPA to preserve Congress’ careful balance for maintaining federal authority over projects in the national interest while recognizing a state’s or Tribe’s interest in preserving water quality.  Our comments urge EPA to focus the scope of CWA 401 water quality reviews on the effect of a federally-authorized discharge on water quality and to provide a clear, binding federal definition of “certification request” for purposes of starting the Congressionally-mandated one-year clock for a state or Tribe to issue its decision.