DEP Submits Comments On EPA’s Waters Of The U.S. Rule

On Wednesday the Department of Environmental Protection submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its proposed clarification of the Waters of the United States rule which determines when water quality permits are needed.

In its letter, DEP said, “The rule as drafted creates more confusion than it clarifies, and is already subject to differing interpretations of EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff.  This confusion will delay permitting and could undermine strong state programs.”

DEP recommended the proposed rule be withdrawn and substantially revised.

DEP said EPA failed to recognize Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law already broadly protects all the waters of the Commonwealth without the confusion of the EPA rule.

Former DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo told the Citizens Advisory Council in May the changes in the Waters of the United States definition will not have much impact on Pennsylvania programs because the state’s water quality programs already exceed minimum federal requirements.

A copy of the comments is available online.


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