Owens Water Quality Bill Clears T&I Committee

WASHINGTON – The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee included the Water Quality Criteria Development and Transparency Act, introduced by Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), in H.R. 7023, the Creating Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act, which passed out of committee with bipartisan support. Owens’ legislation sets forth clearer procedures for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in developing water quality criteria, commonly utilized for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. These procedures would enhance public participation and impose limitations on judicial review.

“Every stakeholder in Utah and across the nation deserves to have a voice in determining the EPA’s water quality criteria development for NPDES permits,” said Rep. Owens. “As the first Utahn to serve on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in more than twenty years, and now joined by Congresswoman Celeste Maloy, I am proud to champion efficient, transparent, and innovative management of our water resources. I applaud the inclusion of my legislation, the Water Quality Criteria Development and Transparency Act, in H.R. 7023 and will continue to champion transparency and collaboration in how the federal government does business.”

Background:

The EPA develops recommended water quality criteria under CWA Section 304(a), which are used by many states in carrying out their NPDES permitting responsibilities. Given the importance of water quality criteria development, this bill ensures that outside comments are legitimately considered in the development of these guidelines, and that Section 304(a) water quality criteria are subject to Administrative Procedures Act notice and comment rulemaking requirements and limited judicial review, ensuring regulated entities have a seat at the table and water quality is protected.

The full bill text is available here.

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