Yesterday at the Louisiana Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority Meeting, much of the meeting was focused on the Clean Water Rule that EPA and the Corps of Engineers have proposed. This rule is designed to clarify terms, specifically what constitutes a “Water of the United States,” that deserves Clean Water Act protections. For more background on the rule, go here.
While the Clean Water Rule would ensure protection for fragile waterways and wetlands that grant us flood protection, wildlife habitat, and water filtration, the CPRA passed a resolution opposing this rule. The rhetoric being produced made it seem like this rule would slow down or even halt coastal restoration. This is simply not true.
The proposed rule will not impact coastal restoration. Waters in Louisiana's Coastal Zone have always been under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, and this rule does not change that. Not only does this rule not impact the jurisdiction of CPRA, it sends a bad message to the nation: Louisiana is asking for billions of dollars to restore coastal wetlands, and at the same time is opposing rules that help protect wetlands.
There has been so much misinformation surrounding this rule, and you can find some of the facts here.
While it was obvious that this resolution was going to pass, I did take to the mic to deliver some public comments including:
It is distressing to see the CPRA spending time and energy on this when their task will not be impacted by it.
This rule will give more regulatory certainty to those seeking permits to destroy wetlands or discharge into state and federal waters.
Regulation of “ditches” is not being increased.
The public benefits of this rule are $388 million to $541 million annually. This greatly outweighs any costs.
CPRA never even asked EPA to talk to them about the rule before publicly objecting to it.
This rule is good our waters, our wetlands, and our communities. The EPA is still accepting comments. Take a moment now to tell EPA: I’m for Clean Water. Even if the CPRA isn’t.
Matt is GRN’s Senior Policy Director