Proposal gives Commonwealth complete purview over permitting decisions
March 8, 2017 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today in response to a proposal from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to transfer control over the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting process from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Commonwealth. This proposal would allow a local process that has historically favored large polluters to control who is susceptible to Clean Water Act regulations.
“EPA’s permitting program has for decades provided important protections for our water,” said CLF attorney Caitlin Peale Sloan. “Proposing inadequate funding from an already-strapped environmental protection budget in order to create a weak program demonstrates a real lack of understanding on behalf of our state leaders. While we certainly have reason to be wary about EPA’s continued ability to perform in the coming years, we cannot allow these near-term fears to push us into making a dangerous, long-term change. Massachusetts legislators should reject the proposal in its current form, and CLF welcomes the opportunity to work with the Baker Administration in finding a solution that actually provides continued protection for our natural resources.”
CLF experts are available for further comment.