Washington State Governor Inslee, AG Ferguson blast EPA assault on states’ clean water authority

Olympia, WA (STL.News) – Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson today released a joint statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule that severely curtails the legal authority of states and tribes to protect clean water under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.

“As expected, the EPA has released a rule that unlawfully constrains state and tribal authority and violates both the spirit and letter of the law.  It exposes the president’s contempt for the Clean Water Act and his disdain for the right of every state to protect our waters and our communities.  This administration will stop at nothing to put corporate special interests ahead of the health and safety of the American people.

“We will not be deterred by the Trump administration from exercising our state’s full authority to protect Washingtonians’ right to clean water.  The law is absolutely clear — states have both the right and the responsibility under the Clean Water Act to preserve our environment and protect public health.  The White House’s relentless attacks cannot change that.

“If the EPA finalizes this unlawful proposal, we’ll have no choice but to explore all legal options to defend Washington’s authority to protect our natural resources.”

The EPA rule follows a regulatory guidance letter released Wednesday by the Army Corps of Engineers that restricts the timelines for states to issue water quality certifications under the Clean Water Act.  The EPA also previously adopted new guidance in June that seeks to narrow the scope and timelines for states’ certifications under the same statute.