Alaska Assumption of 404 Primacy: A coalition of Alaskan businesses and labor unions is encouraging the Senate to reinstate funding for the Department of Environmental Conservation to assume primacy over Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The House included funding in their budget.
Why support the assumption of Section 404?
- State primacy ensures better communication and accountability between permitters and applicants to help move infrastructure projects forward. We need state primacy over CWA 404 permitting to make it a streamlined process that Alaska companies and utilities can count on.
- Primacy does not weaken oversight. Programs are required to follow federal law and cannot be less stringent than federal regulations.
- The state has a track record of success with other programs where they have assumed primacy like the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System the Clean Air Act and the Safe Water Drinking Act.
- Alaska has more wetlands and Waters of the US than any other state. With the continual change of federal policies around wetlands and Waters of the US, the State needs to be front and center on wetlands permitting under Clean Water Act 404 to help keep the federal agencies from delaying work on projects that are good for Alaska.
- We have several important state-funded projects coming up for 404 permitting that would benefit from this, including renewable energy projects, rural energy projects, and broadband expansion to rural and native communities.
- Compensatory mitigation (the restoration, establishment, enhancement, and/or preservation of wetlands, streams, and other aquatic resources to offset potential, unavoidable impacts) controlled by Alaskans can ensure that funds allocated for mitigation will be invested in Alaska, not sent to other states with no control over how the funds are managed/spent.
- Financial Support for the project will be diverse between the federal government, the state, and the regulated community.
The Alaska Chamber, the Alliance, ABC Alaska, the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, the Resource Development Council, Associated General Contractors of Alaska, the Council of Alaska Producers, the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Miners, the Alaska Laborers Union, the Alaska Telecom Association, and the International Union of Operating Engineers have joined forces to advocate for this important effort. These organizations represent thousands of large and small businesses in Alaska and tens of thousands of jobs in Alaska.