Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has cosponsored H.R. 2707, the Clean Water Compliance and Ratepayer Affordability Act of 2013, which gives communities flexibility in dealing with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean water regulations. This bill will direct the EPA to work with municipalities that are seeking to develop and implement integrated plans to meet their wastewater and storm water obligations.
“Currently the EPA too often takes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to dealing with municipalities and their waste water systems,” said Simpson. “Communities should have flexibility to meet federal clean water standards rather than being required to do so in a way that may be practically or economically unfeasible. Best practices for one community may differ than those of another.”
Specifically, H.R. 2707 would create a pilot program through which 15 communities across the country will work with the EPA to craft compliance programs through the agency’s new integrated planning and permitting approach that meet each participating community’s particular needs. The pilot program will encourage approved local communities to pursue innovative and cost-effective approaches to Clean Water Act compliance without driving up costs unnecessarily through expensive and, often times, outdated mandates.
“Decisions on how to best meet Clean Water Act standards, in the most economical way, can and should be made locally,” said Simpson. “We’ve seen this work in Idaho — the City of Boise’s Dixie Drain Project is a good example of how flexibility could allow the City to meet water standards in a more cost effective way — and I think this model could work in other communities as well. The EPA should work with individual citizens and communities to solve their needs in the most efficient and economic manner.”