Developments in Water Law : EPA Extends Comment Period on Waters of the U.S. and President Signs Water Resources Reform and Development Act

EPA Extends Comment Period on Waters of the U.S.

Additional Time to Provide Comments on EPA Rulemaking

The Environmental Protection Agency extended the comment period on the Waters of the United States proposed rule until Oct. 20. The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers propose to redefine the term “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act to include waters that are tributary or adjacent to wetlands to any waters used in interstate commerce, to territorial seas and to other water bodies. The proposed redefinition expands the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act. During the extended time, the agencies will continue to meet with representatives of states and local governments, stakeholders and elected officials.

BB&K Response: On Thursday, BB&K will hold a webinar on the proposed rule and its implications for local agencies. BB&K is also assisting a coalition of cities and special districts in preparing comments on the proposed rule. To learn more about the webinar, the proposed rule or the coalition, please click here.

President Signs Water Resources Reform and Development Act

New $350 Million Water Project Financial Program Authorized

President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (H.R. 3080) today. The Act authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation and flood control projects and creates the largest financing program for water projects in decades: the five-year, $350 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA). WIFIA is just a part of the larger Act.

Through WIFIA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA will jointly provide long-term, low-interest loans and loan guarantees for large water and wastewater infrastructure projects and activities costing $20 million or more ($5 million for utilities serving 25,000 people or less). WIFIA loans can only be used to fund 49 percent of total project cost and loan recipients cannot use tax-exempt municipal bonds to cover the non-federal share of the project. WIFIA loans can be used to fund planning, design, environmental review, permitting, engineering, property acquisition, environmental mitigation and construction for drinking water, flood control, wastewater, desalination, aquatic ecosystem restoration and other projects. More information about the law may be found in the following links. BB&K will work with its members to ensure they may timely apply for WIFIA funds.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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