• Mark Ryan

Biden's Big Move on Climate Change and the CWA

The Biden Administration charged out of the gate today with its climate policy in the form of a new "Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad." See link below. The question for us water folk, is what affect will it have on the implementation of the CWA. The administrator of the EPA and the Secretary of Defense are named in the Order as a participants in several task forces to look at the climate problem, so expect policy changes to filter down quickly to the EPA Office of Water and the Corps regulatory branch. It's hard to predict now how these changes will manifest themselves in the context of the CWA, but I think 404 permitting for oil & gas and coal development, pipelines and coal-fired power plants are possible targets, which will effect how the two agencies deal with any challenges filed against the recent Corps NWP revisions, among other things. (See my Jan. 10 blogpost.) Meeting temperature water quality standards, which has been a large, but low-profile problem for several years, may start to get a lot more attention. We may also see moves to rewrite effluent guidelines to place greater emphasis on low-carbon-footprint technologies. Time will tell, but this new high-level requirement to consider climate change in all aspects of regulation could lead to significant changes in the status quo. Stay tuned.

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