Gino DiCaro

Wetlands policy still a problem

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, Sept. 21, 2012 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Last year, CMTA and a broad coalition of other industry associations wrote Governor Brown with concerns that the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) was developing a new, aggressive wetlands regulatory and permitting program that could have significant and negative impacts on public and private projects and activities throughout California.

At the time we questioned the wisdom of the Board imposing expansive new standards on the regulated community which are in addition to those imposed by federal agencies which would add additional compliance costs, especially when they cannot be justified in terms of improved environmental quality or human health benefits.

Unfortunately, in spite of our meetings with the Governor’s office and key agency officials, SWRCB recently released a wetlands policy and regulatory “Preliminary Draft” document for public review. That draft, if adopted, would impose a scheme upon California’s regulated community which would increase permitting burdens and would likely drain limited state funds from other environmental protection programs.

The Preliminary Draft continues to include a definition of wetlands specific to California which is substantively different than the one used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The proposed change both greatly broadens the lands that could be affected, and – because it is out of sync with the well-established federal definition of wetlands – will double the burden for applicants, slow or stop the process of transportation, water and other critical capital projects and have a significant and negative impact on jobs in our state.

A new letter, signed by 33 industry associations, was delivered to the Governor on Monday afternoon, September 17, urging SWRCB to cease work in the development of this draft policy and regulatory program.

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