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Senators Introduce Legislation to Halt Jurisdictional Overreach on Wetlands Guidance

March 31, 2012
Senators Barrasso (R-Wy.), Inhofe (R-Okla.), Heller (R-Nev.) and Sessions (R-Ala.), along with 26 of their colleagues, introduced legislation to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from implementing its guidance on Clean Water Act jurisdiction. In May 2011, the EPA and Corps issued draft guidance on “Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act.”  This guidance document, which was sent in final form to the Office of Management and Budget on Feb. 21, 2012, significantly changes and expands what water features are considered protected under the Clean Water Act. The guidance also ignores the fundamental premise in the Act that there are waters subject to the exclusive regulatory jurisdiction of the states. The final guidance is overly broad and expands federal jurisdiction well beyond the intent of Congress and the limitations recognized in recent Supreme Court decisions. This increase in jurisdiction could increase construction costs and project delays with expensive permits that take years to obtain. There is already an extensive backlog of these Section 404 permits, and this will likely add to it. AGC is working with our industry partners in the Waters Advocacy Coalition to gather support for this bill. The coalition sent its letter of support the day the bill was introduced. Click here for the press release. For more info, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.orgor Leah Pilconis at (703) 837-5332 or pilconisl@agc.org.
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