The National Association of Counties, collaborating with other stakeholders including Maryland counties, has successfully argued that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed window for public comment on new regulations governing “Waters of the United States” was insufficient.
In a win for counties, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced the public comment period for the proposed rule on the “Definition of Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act” will be extended 91 days to October 20, 2014. The proposed rule, as originally published in the Federal Register on April 21, was open for public comment for 90 days or until July 21.
The proposed rule would amend the definition of “waters of the U.S.”(WOTUS) and potentially expand the range of waters that fall under federal jurisdiction to include county-owned ditches such as roadside, flood control and stormwater. Additionally, the changes apply to all Clean Water Act (CWA) programs.
In early May, NACo, along with the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the National League of Cities (NLC), sent a letter requesting a 90-day extension of the public comment period for the newly proposed rule. Due to the complexity of the proposal, the groups asked for an extension to allow sufficient time for local governments to analyze and comment on the proposed rule. A number of counties also sent extension requests.
NACo launched a new information hub website that is designed to serve as a one-stop resource for counties on the proposed rule. The new information hub will:
- Provide comprehensive analysis on how the proposed rule impacts counties
- Suggested long and short draft comments for submission to the agencies and Congressional members
- Guidance on how to submit an op-ed on the issue to local media outlets
- Suggested social media posts
Contact: Julie Ufner at email@example.com or 202.942.4269