The nation’s governors are committed to protecting public health and conserving the environment for the American people. The future success of environmental protection and remediation efforts depends upon the continued successful implementation of programs at the state and local levels. To further the progress made to date, governors pledge to continue to promote environmentally sound policies within their state and work with Congress and the Administration on the development of new or revised federal environmental programs.
1.2 Water Resources
The primary responsibility for managing the nation’s vital water resources is properly vested with the states. The holistic approach utilized by many states that focuses on water supply, quality and conservation, public drinking water source protection, flood protection, flood plain management, land use and fish and wildlife resources protection is the best way to achieve water quality standards.
The role of the federal government should be to support states’ efforts to achieve their water quality goals through cooperatively establishing water quality objectives, coordinating federal programs, providing technical and financial assistance and supporting research and development. Any federal environmental program should be easily assumed and managed by states within available resources.
- Governors support the reauthorization and continued support of the Drinking Water and Clean Water state revolving loan funds and the inclusion of greater flexibilities for states.
- Because federal water projects and related activities often affect water supply, flood protection, tourism, economic development and the environment, the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation should work closely with the states in which their projects are located and recognize that states have jurisdiction over the allocation and use of the natural flows that are affected by federal water projects.
- Any new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water standards should include reasonable implementation schedules, adequate core funding, reasonable and integrated data management requirements, appropriate cost consideration and an appropriate state regulatory role in implementation.
- States, with their local units of government, have and must maintain the primary responsibility for managing both groundwater and surface water resources, in partnership with and with funding assistance from, the federal government.
1.3 Federal Permits
Federal and state regulatory regimes are intended to protect the nation’s environmental resources. Governors are committed to maintaining protections necessary to preserve our air, water and natural resources. With federal standards and objectives identified, there should be flexibility for and deference to nonfederal governments to develop their own plans to achieve them and to provide accountability.
Federal regulatory agencies should review their requirements, including those for the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act with those of state governments and promote coordination,
andeliminate duplication, and defer to adequate state programs wherever possible.
- Federal agencies should ensure that regulatory policy or guidance that will be used in permitting and other decision-making is developed in an open and transparent manner allowing all affected stakeholders input into the process and that such guidance does not supplant or change the existing federal rules and law upon which it is based. Consistent with EPA acknowledgement when they issue guidance, it is not legally binding and should not be used as the basis for making a federal objection to a delegated state action.
Time limited (effective Winter Meeting 2013 – Winter Meeting 2015).
Adopted Winter Meeting 2013.