The Cabinet has indicated an intent to apply to the federal EPA for approval to issue those permits, which are now managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. KRC believes that the state should not be taking on another regulatory program unless we can improve environmental protection over the level that is provided for in federal law. Benchmarks are needed in the bill to assure this, yet the Cabinet opposed a Senate floor amendment that would have provided more accountability.
KRC believes these changes are needed to assure that the state adoption of the 404 program improves rather than weakens environmental protection:
*A report should be prepared for the General Assembly and public to review before the Governor decides to apply for the new regulatory program, demonstrating how state management of the program will improve environmental protection & permitting; and
* Assurance that if the executive branch does decide to move forward, that review processes comparable to those currently provided under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the corps public interest review under 33 CFR 320, will be part of the state program. Without that assurance in state law, these protections would be lost on state assumption of the program since they are not required to be part of the state program.
Call 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message for each member of the House of Representatives to oppose SB 175 unless it is amended to provide these protections in the even that the state adopts the Section 404 program.