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Statement of Administration Policy: S. 1128 - Clean Water

June 06, 1985


(Senator Chafee (R) Rhode Island)

The Administration opposes enactment of S. 1128 unless it is amended to:

— reduce the construction grant authorization from $18 billion through 1994, to the 1986 President's Budget level of $6 billion over four years, and delete authorization for Federal capital payments to a new state revolving fund. The Senate proposal is too costly, delays the transition to non-federal funding, and broadens the uses of funds under Section 207 of the Act to include combined sewer overflow projects. The President's proposal will provide sufficient funds to complete the backlog of phased/segmented projects that have already received Federal funds, and will avoid funding inappropriate projects, such as those intended to accommodate population growth and those already funded once through Federal grants;

— delete provisions to: (1) authorize $300 million in State grants over three years for a new non-point source pollution control program and (2) require EPA to dictate non-point source controls when interstate disputes arise. Given EPA's experience with a similar grant program, under Section 208 of the Act, that spent nearly $500 million during the 1970's, control techniques are already well known. Because most controls involve sensitive local land use decisions, States should have sole responsibility for implementing control programs. Likewise, EPA should have no role in issuing non-point source control directives to settle disagreements between States;

— delete provisions specifying prescriptive methodology and requiring rigid deadlines for EPA and States to comply with post-"best available technology" water-quality based effluent limitations. EPA now has authority to review State permits and promulgate water quality standards when States fail to act. Further, the prescriptive methodology could hamstring EPA and State efforts by preventing the use of alternative, more effective methodologies;

— delete provisions limiting the use of the fundamentally different factors variances by removing prospective control costs as a factor. The Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Water Act gives EPA the flexibility to establish FDF standards. The cost of treatment is a critical variable in considering whether a plant is fundamentally different.

APP Note: Original document provided by Samuel Kernell, UC San Diego.

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: S. 1128 - Clean Water Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project