NEI concerned about change in federal waters rule

Federal water rule could complicate utility activities
A final rule, which could significantly impact the nuclear energy industry was released recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This rule changes what waters of the United States are protected under the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act's aim is to restore and maintain the country's waters while helping to protect the nation's navigable waters (including waters in the United States as well as territorial seas).

The final draft of the rule increases the area over which the EPA and the Corps of Engineers have jurisdiction. It encompasses all tributaries to navigable waters as well as adjacent waters and adjacent wetlands.

NEI officials have voiced concerns about the proposed increase in federal jurisdiction. In a letter, those officials said the EPA's proposal would make necessary more permit requirements from nuclear power plants as well as creating “a substantial impact on utilities’ ability to operate and maintain existing facilities and infrastructure as well as finance and develop new projects.”

The letter went on to say the rule could “complicate activities at utility generation, transmission and decommissioning sites.”

The agencies admitted the rule could mean an increase in the number of permit determinations that would have to be made annually and add time and costs to energy projects.

Industry leaders expect the final rule to lead to litigation.

Organizations in this Story

Nuclear Energy Institute U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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