The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on June 22 approved the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 (H.R. 2018) which would limit EPA authority to overrule state-approved water quality standards. The bill was introduced on May 25 by Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) and Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall (D-WV). Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH) and Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) are also original cosponsors.
The bill would block EPA's ability to revise state water quality standards under Section 303 and replace them with federal guidance, which the agency has done for coal mining with guidance establishing a standard for pollution based on the ion content of stream water. H.R. 2018 also would remove EPA authority to overrule state-granted water quality certifications under Section 401 of the CWA and state-approved National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits under Section 402 H.R. 2018 would also strip EPA of its authority to veto dredge-and-fill permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The bill also includes an amendment submitted by Rep. Shelley Capito (R-WV) that would apply the restrictions imposed on EPA's authority to all pending permits or new and revised water quality standards. The bill now heads to the House floor. There is no similar legislation in the Senate.