WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement praising President Trump’s executive order Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth. Section 3 of the executive order aims to specifically improve the water quality certification process.

“I applaud President Trump taking action to stop states from hijacking the Clean Water Act,” said Barrasso. “Washington state and east coast states have used this authority to slow down important energy projects. The president’s executive order compliments the legislation I introduced yesterday with several other Republican senators. The water quality certification process is designed to protect America’s water, not advance liberal political agendas. I will continue to work with the Trump administration on this critical shared priority.”

Barrasso introduced the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2019. The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND). The bill amends section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The legislation makes several key clarifications to existing law about the appropriate scope of review for a water quality certification. It would also place procedural guardrails and requirements on states as they process requests for certification to prevent future abuses.

Background Information

On October 4, 2018, Barrasso, along with Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Mike Enzi (R-WY), sent a letter to Andrew Wheeler, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) then-Acting Administrator, regarding implementation of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. In the letter, the senators asked Wheeler to provide implementation direction to federal agencies regarding Section 401, in light of abuses by certain states. The executive order directly responds to this letter by tasking EPA with leadership over Section 401 reform.