Governors, State Legislators Respond to Presidential Executive Order on Water Quality

State Leaders Say Directive ‘Seeks to Upset the Balance of Cooperative Federalism’ Underlying Clean Water Act

In response to President Trump signing the Executive Order on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth, the National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures released the following statement:

“Governors and state legislatures are concerned by Sec. 3 of the recent ‘Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth’ Executive Order, which directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin a process that could result in a significant constraint on a state’s ability to protect its water quality.

“The federal government’s role should be to support state efforts to achieve water quality goals as laid out in the Clean Water Act. Yet, yesterday’s order seeks to upset the balance of cooperative federalism laid out in Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Section 401 rightly balances state and federal prerogatives and has been faithfully executed for nearly 50 years. While we support efforts to streamline federal review processes, grow American jobs and promote domestic energy production, a one-size-fits-all change that limits a state’s protection and management of its water resources is the wrong approach. We appreciate that the Executive Order specifically directs the EPA Administrator to consult with states in reviewing Section 401 and we look forward to working with the EPA and other federal agencies to ensure that frequent, meaningful and timely consultation occurs prior to any action that restricts or constrains state authority.”

For more information, please visit NGA’s Natural Resources Committee and NCSL’s National Resources and Infrastructure Committee.