Social Governance

EPA in U.S. Brings Back Rights of States and Tribes to Block Polluting Projects

Published on: 3 June 2022 06:05 PM
by KnowESG
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restores states' and tribes' rights to block projects on environmental grounds through the federal clean water permitting process on Thursday, June 2, reversing a Trump-era effort to restrict them from doing so.

The agency submitted a proposed rule to alter the 2020 Clean Water Act Section 401 certification rule by increasing states', territories', and tribes' rights to preserve their water resources and the environment by stopping potentially detrimental projects, which was first announced in May.

The Trump administration had set its sights on Section 401 permitting process, which allowed states like New York, New Jersey, and Washington to block major pipeline proposals, coal export terminals, and other projects that they believed would increase greenhouse gas emissions.

A state could no longer block a federal water permit for a project for any reason other than direct pollution into state waters, such as the project's potential climate impacts, thanks to a Trump EPA rule.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said, "EPA’s proposed rule builds on this foundation by empowering states, territories, and Tribes to use Congressionally granted authority to protect precious water resources while supporting much-needed infrastructure projects that create jobs and bolster our economy."

Ken Norton, Chairman of the National Tribal Water Council, said:

"The CWA Section 401 certifications serve as the first and sometimes the only line of defence protecting tribal waters from pollutant discharge flowing within and onto our reservation lands."

Source: Reuters

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