WIEB Joins WGA Coalition on States’ Authority Under Section 401 of Clean Water Act


The Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) had joined Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and eight other leading associations of state officials to urge Congressional leadership to reject current legislative and administrative efforts to diminish states’ authority to manage water quality within their boundaries under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). States have primary legal authority over allocation, administration and protection of their water resources, which enables proper environmental management. As the outreach reminds: “To implement the CWA, Congress purposefully designated states as co-regulators under a system of cooperative federalism that recognizes state authority.” A vital component of this cooperation is state authority to certify and condition federal permits of discharges into waters of the United States under CWA Section 401. The issue also has been addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which concluded: “State certifications under [Section] 401 are essential in the scheme to preserve state authority to address the broad range of pollution.” (S.D. Warren Co. v. Maine Board of Environmental Protection, 547 U.S. 370 (2006), citing 116 Cong. Rec. 8984, 1970.) We urge Congress to reject any legislative or administrative effort that would diminish, impair or subordinate states’ ability to manage or protect water quality within their boundaries.