WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the State of Florida is the first state in more than 25 years to apply for and receive approval to implement a Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 program, joining Michigan and New Jersey as the only states in the country with such authority. The action formally transfers permitting authority under CWA Section 404 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to the State of Florida for a broad range of water resources within the State. This action allows the State to more effectively and efficiently evaluate and issue permits under the CWA to support the health of Florida’s waters, residents, and economy.
“A considerable amount of effort has gone into Florida’s assumption of the Clean Water Act 404 program,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Federal authorities don’t delegate this type of permit often, but Florida has, beyond question one of the greatest environmental records of any state, and I couldn’t be happier that Florida has shown it can meet the strict national standards EPA sets to protect human health and the environment.”
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler made the announcement at a press conference this week.
“This designation is great news for the State of Florida – it gives our state the ability to make the best decisions for our unique environment, with input from the public and environmental stakeholders. The duplicative rules on the state and federal levels were a waste of taxpayer dollars, and created confusion for everyone involved, which is why I fought to streamline this process. I will keep working to cut unnecessary government red tape and improve efficiency on every level of government, while also making sure our environment is protected for generations to come,” said U.S. Senator Rick Scott.
“Today’s announcement is a tremendous accomplishment for Florida, especially as we continue our Everglades restoration efforts,” said U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25). “Allowing the state to take over the 404 permitting process will significantly streamline restoration projects, while still protecting the greater environment. I thank Administrator Wheeler and Regional Administrator Walker, as well as all the other key players who worked diligently to make this happen. I have no doubt that we will see the benefits of this decision for years to come.”