Washington – The National Association of Counties (NACo) today responded to the Environmental Protection Agency’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to withdraw the 2015 "Waters of the U.S." definition and replace it with previous regulations. NACo CEO/Executive Director Matthew Chase said:
“The nation’s counties support clean water and common-sense environmental regulations. We balance our environmental stewardship responsibilities with our duty to keep residents safe and foster economic competitiveness.
“Federal regulations have significant impacts on counties, sometimes overreaching and hindering our ability to fulfill our mandated responsibilities.
“We appreciate the administration’s efforts to clarify the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ definition. Over the years, an unclear definition has resulted in confusion, inconsistencies and costs, inhibiting essential infrastructure upgrades and causing delays, unnecessary red tape and lawsuits.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the agencies to achieve a pragmatic rule that advances clean water goals without hindering counties’ vast public safety and infrastructure responsibilities.”
Counties own and manage transportation and public safety infrastructure, including 45 percent of the nation’s road miles and 40 percent of bridges, as well as flood control channels, drainage conveyances, ditches and culverts used to prevent flooding, all impacted by the “Waters of the U.S.” rule.
Since the latest rule was finalized in 2015, NACo has consistently requested that the agencies withdraw and revamp it, inclusive of state and local government concerns. NACo testified before congressional bodies four times and steadfastly advocated for more collaboration and greater clarity. For more information, visit www.NACo.org/WOTUS.Standard