Murkowski Welcomes Updated EPA Section 401 Guidance

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released updated guidance for Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to clarify and improve the water quality certification process.

“I welcome this announcement and hope EPA’s new guidance will reduce abuse of the Clean Water Act to block infrastructure needed to provide reliable and affordable energy,” Murkowski said. “EPA’s updated guidance will maintain vital protections for our water resources while promoting responsible development of our energy resources.” 

On June 7, 2019, EPA issued updated guidance for Section 401, which provides that a federal agency may not issue a permit for an activity that will result in a water discharge unless the state or tribe where the discharge will occur issues a water quality certification. In recent years some states have used this authority to delay or prevent critical energy infrastructure projects from being built. EPA’s updated guidance maintains state and tribal authority and clarifies the timeline and scope for water quality certifications. EPA will soon propose new implementing regulations for Section 401, which have not been updated since 1971.

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

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