Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Greg Steube (FL-17)
December 17, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) today delivered remarks at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) event celebrating the initiation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 program in Florida.
“It was an honor to celebrate this tremendous victory for Florida’s environment and infrastructure,” Steube said. “As the first state to receive approval to administer the CWA 404 program in over 25 years and only the third state in 43 years, this is a historic accomplishment. With this increased flexibility for permitting, Florida will now have new capabilities to build and maintain our infrastructure while protecting Florida’s water quality and environmental interests.”
Currently, Section 2020 of the CWA requires a permit before dredged or fill material can be discharged into waters of the United States. However, this has been loosely defined and caused problems for decades which have not only affected Florida’s water quality, but also progress on infrastructure projects.
This rule change and program will allow projects of all sizes to be approved to begin faster without delays caused by the duplicative permitting processes from federal and state levels. This is a major accomplishment as 85% of review requests already overlap between state and federal requirements. Streamlined permitting processes will promote efficiency and benefit all sectors of Florida’s vibrant economy, namely infrastructure and agriculture, all while protecting the state’s environmental interests.
Steube has taken many initiatives to protect Florida’s environment in Congress. Recently, Steube’s request for mechanical harvesting language was included in this year’s appropriations package. This includes the use of safe alternatives to spraying chemicals into Florida’s lakes and waterways and will help Florida control invasive species without sacrificing the water quality of Lake Okeechobee and surrounding watersheds.