Maintaining the status quo for clean water permitting makes sense if the current program is working. But it is not, unless endless legal battles, permits 10 years out of date, and crippling regulatory demands are signs of success.
Significant gains under the Clean Water Act halted decades ago when the federal government stopped funding local wastewater projects. Since then EPA has lacked the staff, budget, and direction needed to continue progress toward cleaner waters using an approach that allows effective, economically sustainable use of local ratepayer dollars. Addressing today’s water resources challenges using yesterday’s approach, less the federal funds, does not work.
It is time to change the strategy. MassDEP successfully manages the federal clean air, hazardous waste, and drinking water programs. Why would clean water be any different? MassDEP managing the program creates an opportunity for a fresh start, allowing regulators, municipalities and environmental advocates to get on the same page. Right now, they are not even reading the same book. It’s worth a try to have MassDEP manage clean water permits and join 47 other states that figured out long ago how to make this work.
By February 7, 2018, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (JENRA) will either report H.2777 out to the full Legislature for a vote, or send it to study – essentially killing it and eliminating our chance to manage the program locally and more effectively. Read our position paper for more on why MCWRS supports NPDES delegation. We urge you to contact the JENRA members today to voice your support for MassDEP to administer the NPDES program!