The bill, which next will likely proceed to the House floor for consideration, would restrict EPA's ability to issue revised or new water quality standards without a state's permission. According to Chairman Mica's press release accompanying the introduction of the legislation, the bill would:
- Restrict EPA’s ability to issue a revised or new water quality standard for a pollutant whenever a state has adopted – and EPA has already approved – a standard, unless the state concurs.
- Prohibit EPA from superseding a water quality certification (that a discharge will comply with applicable water quality requirements) granted by a state under Clean Water Act ("CWA") section 401.
- Prohibit EPA from withdrawing approval of a state water quality permitting program under CWA section 402 (regarding the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or "NPDES")), or from limiting federal financial assistance for the state program, on the basis that EPA disagrees with the state regarding a (i) water quality standard that a state has adopted and EPA has approved, or (ii) the implementation of any federal guidance that directs a re-interpretation of the state’s approved water quality standards.
- Prohibit EPA from objecting to a state’s issuance of an NPDES permit on the basis of (i) EPA’s differing interpretation of an approved state water quality standard, or (ii) the implementation of any federal guidance that directs a re-interpretation of the state’s approved water quality standards.
- Limit EPA’s ability to veto dredge and fill permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers and "gives states more flexibility to administer these permitting programs."