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Idaho Industry Proposes State Run Water Regulations Not EPA

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Industry floated a multi-year proposal for Idaho to take over regulation of water pollution from the federal government by 2021. Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry lobbyist Alex LaBeau introduced the plan yesterday in the House Energy and Environment Committee.

He argues Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality can meet industry’s needs better than the federal Environmental Protection Agency, while still protecting water quality. His proposal involves wastewater-discharge permits — and more importantly, who issues them — to industry, farms, mines, cities and anybody that discharges pollution into U.S. waters. Idaho is among a few states that don’t oversee discharge permits under the Clean Water Act.

Still, there’s a cost, roughly $2.9 million, should Idaho lawmakers back LaBeau’s plan. He foresees the burden eventually borne by federal funding, taxpayers and industry.

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