A number of NACWA utility members met May 8 with senior staff from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) to share an important municipal perspective on Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement issues, especially the role of the federal government around municipal CWA consent decrees.
As the Trump Administration begins to set its enforcement priorities in the environmental arena, NACWA members provided ENRD staff with key insights and concerns around the current CWA enforcement paradigm, including growing challenges related to affordability and the inability to pursue innovative solutions that could result in greater environmental benefit at less ratepayer costs. NACWA strongly emphasized that a “one size fits all” approach to CWA enforcement is not appropriate, and encouraged DOJ to explore more collaborative and compliance-based solutions with local governments and utilities that focus on a net environmental benefit outcome.
DOJ staff were receptive to NACWA’s suggestions, and the Association looks forward to continued dialogue with the Department and EPA on these important issues. Any members with questions can contact Amanda Waters, NACWA’s General Counsel.