Why Idaho Wants To Regulate Pollution And Permits For Lakes And Rivers

Sep 12, 2017

If you’re a city manager looking to renew your town’s sewer treatment plant permit, you’re going to have to wait a while to get a new one. The EPA administers permits for the state under the Clean Water Act.

According to Justin Hayes with the Idaho Conservation League, the backlog of permits is a problem. Right now there are dozens of expired permits operating in Idaho.

“This is not a priority for the EPA," says Hayes, "and as a result of that, these sorts of programs don’t get very much funding at EPA.”

Hayes hopes the state’s decision to take over the permitting process will result in better management. He says up until recently, the state wasn’t interested in taking on the responsibilities – because of the pricetag to do so.  

“When Congress wrote the Clean Water Act in the 1970s, they assumed that all states would do this. It’s an anomaly that Idaho hasn’t sought primacy already.”

This week, the state is taking public comment at meetings across the state on the plan to oversee these kinds of permits. The Boise meeting is Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the Boise Public Library.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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