EPA moves to give states, tribes more power to protect water rights

National News
By Michael Phillis & Suman Naishadham; Associated Press ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Biden administration on Thursday proposed undoing a Trump-era rule that limited the power of states and Native American tribes to block energy projects like natural gas pipelines based on their potential to pollute rivers and streams. The Clean Water Act allows states and tribes to review what effect pipelines, dams and some other federally regulated projects might have on water quality within their borders. The Trump administration sought to streamline fossil fuel development and made it harder for local officials to block projects. The Biden administration’s proposed rule would shift power back to states, tribes and territories. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement that the agency’s draft regulation would empower local entities to…
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Five decades after Clean Water Act, half of US waters too polluted to swim or fish

National News
By Amanda Brandeis; Scripps National Correspondent SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Voted into law a half-century ago, the Clean Water Act of 1972 is still far from achieving its ambitious goals. The landmark law aimed to make U.S. waters safe for swimming and fishing by 1983. It also promised to eliminate all discharges of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985. "There were really outrageous incidents of pollution that really brought the issue of water pollution to the public’s attention," said Tom Pelton, director of communications for the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland was so polluted that it caught fire. Nearly always covered in oil slicks, industrial runoff polluted the water for decades. "And it happened before in the '50s and the '40s. So much oil…
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Supreme Court tees up wetlands fight that could cuff EPA

National News
E&E News Idaho landowners Chantell and Michael Sackett are behind a new Supreme Court case that could upend Clean Water Act precedent. Pacific Legal Foundation The Supreme Court’s decision today to take a fresh look at the scope of the Clean Water Act could impair EPA’s ability to protect isolated wetlands and ephemeral and intermittent streams. It’s the latest brawl the high court has agreed to tackle with the potential to reshape national environmental policy. “They very well could address this whole issue fresh, what we call de novo, look at it in light of what the language of the statute really means,” said Larry Liebesman, a senior adviser at Dawson & Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in permitting. “With a 6-3 majority conservative, there’s a fair chance they may…
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