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State Considers Taking Over Water Pollution Permitting

Currently Idaho is one of four states that doesn’t run the program that regulates water polluters under the Clean Water Act. All point sources of pollution, from city sewer systems to industries, dairies and storm water systems must get a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently runs the NPDES permitting program in Idaho. Sen. Jim Hammond, a Post Falls Republican, said the slow, bureaucratic nature of EPA’s handling of the program threatens growth and development by holding up new projects. outgoing Idaho Department of Environment Quality Director Toni Hardesty told committee members that The state would not have to answer to Washington EPA officials and could more efficiently mesh its programs already in place to establish pollution limits on rivers an lakes with permitting.

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