Donate NOW!

Sign up for TCWN's E-news

Tennessee Clean
Water Network

123A S. Gay St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Office: 865.522.7007
Fax: 865.525.4988

EPA concurs, two worst water bills violate Clean Water Act!

March 30th, 2009 by Dana Wright
There are many bad water bills floating around the Tennessee Legislature this year, but two of them have stood out as REALLY bad.  SB632/HB1615 and SB633/HB1617 are attempting to change our state’s definition of what is a stream. 

SB632/HB1615 is an attempt to narrow the types of waterbodies protected under our laws.  Since the changes are based upon removing the use classification of a stream, EPA approval is always required. SB633/HB1617 creates a new definition of “limited resource waters” in another attempt to restrict the types of waterbodies protected under our laws.  These bills would especially lift protection from our smaller streams during times of drought, when we need water protection the most.  Both bills also take these re-defined waters out of our public trust, therefore opening them up for pollution.

 The US EPA reviewed these bills and said “Should this legislation pass, it may result in federal action related to TDEC’s federally delegated water programs.”  Passing this legislation could result in direct federal oversight of our state programs, or worse the removal of our delegated authority to protect our waters.  The US EPA also notes these bills result in definitions which would not be consistent with the Clean Water Act. 

On top of all of this, the state could lose up to $2 million in federal funding as a result of this legislation while costing us an additional $1 million in our own expenditures. 

These bills are not only destructive to our water resources, but clearly violate federal standards to protect our waters!


Leave a Reply