EPA Ties Clean Water Enforcement Challenges Directly to Supreme Court Cases and Calls for Legislative Solution (10/15/09)
Administrator Jackson Reiterates Call for Legislative Solution
October 15, 2009 – EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson issued a Clean Water Act Enforcement Action Plan today during a Congressional hearing on the Clean Water Act, which Congress passed to protect water quality throughout the United States. EPA’s plan directly connects declining enforcement of the law with two Supreme Court decisions that threaten to remove protections for 20 million acres of wetlands and tens of thousands of miles of streams across the country.
EPA’s Clean Water Act Enforcement Action Plan identifies significant limitations that affect the agency’s ability to quickly identify and respond to serious water quality problems: “[A]mong these limitations are two Supreme Court decisions – its 2001 decision in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States Army Corps of Engineers and its 2006 decision in Rapanos v. United States – that added layers of confusion regarding which water bodies are covered by the Clean Water Act in many parts of the country.” (citations omitted)
The plan also reiterates EPA’s support for “legislative changes to remove the barriers these [Supreme Court] decisions have created in clean water enforcement…. [T]hese decisions have negatively impacted EPA’s ability to enforce by significantly increasing the amount of time and resources it takes to bring enforcement actions necessary to protect our waters.”
“EPA’s Clean Water Enforcement Action Plan could not be more clear: These Supreme Court decisions undermine Clean Water Act enforcement and create confusion about whether waters are protected or not,” says Scott Kovarovics, Conservation Director at the Izaak Walton League of America. “The U.S. House of Representatives must act this fall to restore Clean Water Act protections for streams, wetlands, and drinking water across the country.”
View the complete Clean Water Act Enforcement Action Plan on EPA’s Web site: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/cwa/cwaenfplan.html
Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America (http://www.iwla.org/) protects America's outdoors through education, community-based conservation and promoting outdoor recreation. For more information, contact Dawn Merritt, Director of Communications, at 301-548-0150 x220.