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EPA Takes Action to Implement President Trump’s Energy Infrastructure Executive Order

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WASHINGTON – Today, in support of President Trump's Executive Orders to promote greater certainty in the infrastructure permitting processes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking affirmative steps to promote nationwide consistency and regulatory certainty under a core Clean Water Act (CWA) program. Today’s action authorizes the EPA to ensure consistency across the country when imposing regulations under the CWA.

“Many states implement Section 401 of the Clean Water Act faithfully, however, on occasion, inconsistent implementation and outdated guidance and regulations have caused delays in infrastructure projects with significant national benefits,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA will immediately engage with our state and tribal partners to identify ways we can modernize the 401 certification process and accelerate infrastructure projects that will improve the lives of Americans.”

Section 401 of the CWA provides states and authorized tribes with an opportunity to evaluate and determine whether the impacts of proposed federally licensed and permitted projects meet local water quality goals. The rules governing this authority have not been updated in almost 50 years.  This state and tribal certification process for proposed projects requiring a federal permit or license is an example of the cooperative federalism goals Congress envisioned when it enacted the CWA.

As directed by President Trump, EPA will continue its engagement with its federal, state, and tribal partners while it develops updated guidance and modernizes its federal regulations implementing the section 401 certification program.