The rule expands the EPA’s regulation of the waters of the United States to include “waters adjacent to jurisdictional waters within a minimum of 100 feet and within 100-year floodplain to a maximum of 1,500 feet of the ordinary high water mark,” according to the EPA’s clean water factsheet available on its website.
The rule also expands the EPA’s reach to include “waters with a significant nexus within 4,000 feet of jurisdictional waters” and “waters with a significant nexus within the 100 year flood plain of a traditional navigable water, interstate water, or territorial seas.”
According to the EPA, “A Clean Water Act permit is only needed if a water is going to be polluted or destroyed” and argues that the new rule does not “protect any types of waters that have not historically been covered by the Clean Water Act.”
“It does not regulate most ditches and does not regulate groundwater, shallow subsurface flows, or tile drains. It does not make changes to current policies on irrigation or water transfers or apply to erosion in a field. The Clean Water Rule addresses the pollution and destruction of waterways – not land use or private property rights.”
Even though the new rule went into effect on August 28, during the aftermath of the Animas River spill, it will not be enforced in Colorado.
FORT COLLINS, CO– Thousands of streams and wetlands in Colorado will remain temporarily unprotected by a new federal rule, due to legal maneuverings by attorney general Cynthia Coffman. While the Obama administration’s new Clean Water Rule goes into effect in most states today, attorney general Cynthia Coffman persuaded a North Dakota judge to block the new protections in Colorado pending the outcome of her lawsuit against them.
“As the clean water rule goes into effect today, waters from California to Maine once again have the protection of the Clean Water Act,” explained Vivian Nguyen, field organizer with Environment Colorado. “But here in Colorado– where so many people spend their summers rafting, kayaking or fishing on our rivers – attorney general Coffman has short-circuited these protections for now. This move is particularly outrageous in light of the Animas River spill. We should be doing everything we can to enhance protections for our state waters, not degrade them” …
Last Friday (8/29), AG Coffman joined a growing list of other states in a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
Colorado attorney general to join in suit on Obama’s Clean Power Plan
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced the EPA suit on Friday
… In Colorado, the plan calls for a 28 percent reduction in overall carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 against 2012 levels …
… “If you make a change like the one we will see if this rule is implemented, I think it has the potential to cost jobs,” Coffman said. “I think it will impact the rates that we pay for our electricity. And I think it impacts the rights of our state government to make these decisions about how electricity is delivered.”
The Colorado Mining Association, an industry association with more than 1,000 members, commends Coffman for challenging the EPA’s regulations.
“By joining this lawsuit … Coffman seeks to protect Colorado consumers from skyrocketing electricity prices as well as increased costs for all goods and services that are produced using electricity,” the association said in a news release Saturday. “The EPA regulations are legally flawed, will cost Colorado jobs and threaten the reliability of the electrical grid” …
… EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones countered that the Clean Power Plan, or section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, is legally and technically sound, following years of input from state and industry officials, energy regulators, health and environmental groups and members of the public.
“To ensure that the Clean Power Plan’s significant health benefits and progress against climate change are delivered to all Americans, EPA and the Department of Justice will vigorously defend it in court,” Jones said in an email statement to The Colorado Statesman this week …
… Coffman’s critics say her pending lawsuit runs counter to the values of Colorado residents, who in 2004 became the first electorate in the United States to pass a renewable energy standard. That initial 10-percent standard for investor-owned utilities such as Xcel Energy, which provides power to roughly two-thirds of Colorado, has been twice expanded by the Legislature to its current target of 30 percent renewable energy by the year 2020.
Member-owned rural electric co-ops, which essentially account for the other third of the state’s power, were required by the Legislature in 2013 to reach a 20-percent renewable energy standard by 2020.
“The irony is that Colorado is well positioned to meet the goals of the Clean Power Plan because of Colorado’s leadership on expanding renewable energy, energy efficiency and promoting a cleaner energy future,” Conservation Colorado Deputy Director Carrie Curtiss said in a release blasting Coffman’s plan to sue the EPA as “misguided” …
On August 26, AG Coffman was a guest speaker at the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit in Denver, (see photo above) and showed us who she works for when she said, “We are in this together… You in the boardrooms and oilfields… Me in the courtrooms.”