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Chamber asks EPA to withdraw water proposal;
Klamath County: Federal rule-making process needs review and local input

Herald and News 11/16/14

     The Klamath County Chamber of Commerce voiced strong concerns with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule to dramatically expand the scope of federal authority over water and land uses across the U.S. and called for the proposal to be withdrawn.

   The Klamath County Chamber of Commerce joined with 375   trade associations and chambers from 50 states representing a wide range of industries in this statement. The effort was led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according to a news release.

   “The Klamath region is already experiencing a variety of negative impacts from regulations that do not fully assess long-term implications for local economies and communities,” said Charles “Chip” Massie,   Chamber executive director. “There seems to be a significant disconnect between federal rule making and practical implementation on the ground, the rule making process needs a thorough review and more local input.”

   Chamber government affairs committee chair Dan Keppen also voiced his concern about the effects the rule could have on Klamath County.

   “In light of the overwhelming evidence that the proposed rule would have a devastating impact on businesses, states, and local governments without   any real benefit to water quality, the agencies should immediately withdraw the waters of the U.S. proposal and begin again. The current proposed rule is simply too procedurally and legally flawed to repair,” said Keppen.

   The comments detail several examples of the impacts of the proposed rule, including:

   The rule would make most ditches into “tributaries.” Routine maintenance activities in ditches and on-site ponds and impoundments could trigger permits that can cost $100,000 or more;  

   • These permitting requirements would likely trigger additional environmental reviews that would add years to the completion time for ordinary projects;

   Even if a project can get a permit, firms will often have to agree to mitigate environmental “damage” with costly restoration/mitigation projects;

   The proposal would likely also result in more stringent storm water management requirements, which would affect retailers, companies with large parking lots, “big box” stores, etc.



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