The Trump administration’s decision to return water-permitting authority to more states means faster, better and more affordable decision-making for all Americans. Under terms of an agreement signed by the U.S. Army, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department and the White House, states can assume authority to issue permits for earth moving in and around regulated waterways, wetlands and land that sometimes channels water.
“The Clean Water Act was supposed to give states a real say in how water was regulated,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said. “Regular farming and ranching activities shouldn’t get tangled in bureaucratic red tape. Even so, only two states today―Michigan and New Jersey―have authority to issue permits to allow landowners to move soil that could potentially affect federally regulated waters. At least 14 more states have expressed interest in having those same powers, so today’s announcement takes us closer to [EMA1] how the law was intended to work.
“This is a major moment for federalism. Because permitting has been so complex and expensive, most farmers and ranchers have given up on exercising their rights under the law. This agreement is a step toward fully restoring the rule of law to environmental regulation.”