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California Attorney General Says EPA Attempt To Limit Clean Water Act Oversight Is Unlawful

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a coalition of 14 states and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, on Friday filed a comment letter denouncing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) guidance that attempts to roll back state involvement in the permitting of federal projects under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Section 401 and other provisions of the Clean Water Act preserve states’ authority to protect the quality of the waters within their borders. In the comment letter, Attorney General Becerra asserts that EPA’s guidance, which implements President Trump’s April 2019 Executive Order, is unlawful, directly contravenes both the language and intent of the Clean Water Act, and undermines state authority recognized under the Clean Water Act.

OPINION: Valley Voice: We Must Begin Work On Bringing Sea Of Cortez Water To The Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is California’s largest lake: roughly 35 miles long by 15 miles wide. Its surface is 233 feet below sea level. Our 17-year drought caused the sea to recede even faster, resulting in greater sea bottom exposure (“playa”). Winds and other factors create serious health issues by fanning PM 10 and other dust particles throughout the Coachella Valley and much of Imperial County. Asthma rates are among the nation’s highest. As Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy, Bruce Wilcox, summarized the Salton Sea’s health picture,  “Conditions are dire and we have to do something now for habitat and … dust suppression.”