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JUNEAU-Governor Sean Parnell is fighting the federal governmentâ€™s recent attempt at regulatory expansion and control under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Parnell detailed Alaskaâ€™s concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) expanding their control over private, state, and municipal lands under the agenciesâ€™ â€œDraft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act.â€
Obtaining wetlands permits from federal agencies is often an expensive and slow process. Alaska already has more wetlands acreage than all 49 other states combined and more coastline than the entire contiguous 48 states.
“The agencies have candidly conceded that this process will ‘significantly increase’ the waters and lands which will be deemed under federal jurisdiction and will, by the agencies’ own estimation, cost somewhere between $87 to $171 million,” Governor Parnell said. “The fact that EPA and the Corps are willing to rush in and further commit enormous staff and monetary resources to a legally-binding process founded on informal guidance while the nation is dealing with a fiscal crisis is astounding.”
The state has offered to work with the agencies on developing regulations that protect the nation’s waters, while preserving a primary role for states and citizens in meeting state water and resource management objectives.