EPA Must Clean Up Its (Water) Act

April 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Water Quality

Your editorial “Supremes 9, EPA 0” (March 22) concluding that it is time for Congress to amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) was on target. This agency has lost its way particularly as it relates to administering the CWA. The EPA’s misguided policies are not limited to the private sector but hurt the public sector as well. Its unilateral and unbridled aggression to impose unfunded mandates based on interpretation of the CWA is having profound consequences on local governments.

The CWA has had a remarkable impact on improving the quality of all U.S. waters. During the first two decades of the act, the EPA partnered with state and local governments to improve water quality. Through this partnership, projects were based on cost sharing, cost benefit, good science and prioritization.

That sense of partnership has been lost. The new EPA is indifferent to the cost of compliance because it no longer has a monetary stake in its mandates and chooses whatever it deems as acceptable science to justify its decisions. Without a monetary stake, the EPA imposes unfunded mandates with impunity on local governments. The process for challenging its edicts is severely skewed in the agency’s favor to the extent that few communities choose to appeal its orders.

We need to preserve our aquatic resources and use validated science to guide how and where to spend the public’s money effectively. It is time to declare a moratorium on new CWA regulations or interpretations that will add to the burden of local government. The EPA must return to administering the CWA in a way that is sustainable and reasonable.

Robert L. Moylan Jr., P.E.

President

Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship

Worcester, Mass.

A version of this article appeared April 7, 2012, on page A14 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: EPA Must Clean Up Its (Water) Act.

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