WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) announced that he was inviting Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon to testify on November 19, 2019 at a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on improving Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Reform is necessary because certain states have abused the Section 401 process to block energy and infrastructure projects.
Barrasso introduced S.1087, the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2019, earlier this year. The bill amends Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Barrasso is chairman of the Senate EPW Committee.
“I am so glad that Governor Gordon is coming to Washington to testify on how the Clean Water Act is being hijacked by a number of states,” said Chairman Barrasso. “Washington state is blocking Wyoming coal from being exported around the world. Their actions threaten American energy dominance and harms energy workers in Wyoming. We need reform. I look forward to Governor Gordon’s testimony and working with him to improve and strengthen Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.”
"I want to thank Senator Barrasso for inviting me to testify before the EPW committee,” said Governor Gordon. “I believe that Clean Water Act Section 401 reform should be focused, be efficient, and appropriately balance the federal government’s jurisdiction with state autonomy. We can protect water quality, build infrastructure responsibly, and promote interstate commerce under Section 401.”
On Oct. 21, 2019, Barrasso, Enzi, Inhofe, Daines, Capito, and Cramer sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler regarding implementation of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. In the letter, the senators support reform because states like Washington, New York, and New Jersey have abused the Section 401 process to block energy projects.
On April 9, 2019, the same group of senators introduced S.1087, the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2019. 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.