Gov. doug ducey asks epa for power to regulate arizona streams local news gas definition state of matter


Under current federal jurisdiction, those ephemeral streams all require developers to get Clean Water Act permits before dredging or filling. Developers say the permits are costly and time-consuming to obtain. Environmentalists counter they’re essential for preventing pollution and preserving key wildlife habitat and endangered species.

If Ducey’s request is granted, the potential long-term impact on the Santa Cruz River is unclear. The Santa Cruz, which has both year-round and ephemeral stretches, is formally designated as protected, but developers are challenging its designation in court. Trump administration’s plan

Pruitt and President Trump are seeking to limit which water bodies are covered. Pruitt recently proposed to repeal the Obama administration’s 2015 rule that does consider streams that are dry except after storms as protected Waters of the U.S. under certain circumstances.

Ducey’s June 16 letter was one of many that governors and Indian tribes around the country sent to EPA’s Pruitt, in response to his request for their input on how to rewrite the Waters of the U.S. rule. That’s what Pruitt has said he’ll do after he finishes his current effort to repeal the 2015 rule.

The governor’s letter hasn’t been formally released to the public by the EPA; the Arizona Daily Star obtained a copy from other sources. Environmentalists in Washington, D.C., asked the EPA last month to release all the governors’ and tribal letters. The agency refused. An EPA spokesman said the agency will provide summaries of all the letters at a later date, as it continues considering the proposed rule.

The permits often require extensive mitigation measures, such as those costing $48 million that the proposed Rosemont Mine has put forth for its plans to extract over 200 million pounds of copper annually from the Santa Rita Mountains. Rosemont and the proposed 28,000-home Villages at Vigneto development in Benson have been tied up for years in part because of unresolved Clean Water Act issues.

“The revised rule should … clearly identify that states have authority to determine waters regulated under the (act),” except those on tribal lands and those crossing state lines or international boundaries, Ducey wrote. State already plays an informal role

Typically, the power to designate Waters of the U.S. has gone to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with the EPA having final say in determining which rivers are navigable. Navigable streams are always protected under the law and whether other streams, wetlands and waters are protected often depends on their relationship to navigable waters.

But Ptak said the agencies exercise that authority only when deciding on permits for individual projects. “That leaves it for states to interpret whether or not the Clean Water Act applies for the vast majority of waters within their boundaries,” Ptak said.

As examples, he said the state makes decisions about what water bodies are protected when it issues a Clean Water Act permit to discharge pollutants into them or decides what’s the maximum daily load of pollution that goes into a water body.