WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today applauded action by the Biden Administration to better empower states and Tribes to protect public health and the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army issued a joint memorandum regarding implementation of the 2020 Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification Rule associated with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) permits—an action which Carper called for earlier this year and last Congress. The memorandum would also delay the finalization of pending nationwide permits thus allowing full review by states and Tribes under their Section 401 certification authorities.
“This action is a good step forward on advancing clean water access and flexibility for our states and Tribes,” said Carper. “We know that with the right policies and practices in place, bolstering economic growth and protecting the environment go hand in hand.”
On March 16, 2021, Chairman Carper and Chairman DeFazio of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure sent a letter to President Biden urging delay in the renewal of Corps nationwide permits to allow adequate public comment and good faith engagement of states.
On June 3 and October 21, 2019, Senators Carper, Duckworth, and Booker—co-chairs of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus—sent letters to then-EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, noting the Trump Administration’s efforts to curtail state and tribal authorities to protect their water quality and public health was an illegal affront to the express words and intent behind Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and the underlying principle of cooperative federalism.