Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Report assesses potential benefits of state regulation of fill materials in waterways, wetlands
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 4, 2006) - The Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) has released its report on the status of an assessment of benefits that could be derived from state administration of a federal program that regulates the discharge of fill material into rivers, lakes, streams and adjacent wetlands.
Permits for such discharges are governed by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The 404 program in Kentucky currently is administered by the Army Corps of Engineers with oversight by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Administration of the program in Kentucky by four separate Corps of Engineers districts has occasioned confusion about jurisdiction and complaints about inconsistency and delays.
Kentucky, with more than 89,000 miles of rivers and streams and 324,000 acres of jurisdictional wetlands, has particular need of a 404 program that would meet Governor Ernie Fletcher’s goals of greater clarity and efficiency and improved protection of the environment.
At Governor Fletcher’s request, the EPPC evaluated state assumption of the 404 program and worked with the 2005 General Assembly to secure enabling legislation. An important element of the EPPC’s assessment of state assumption was creation of the Section 404 Task Force, which was convened by EPPC Secretary LaJuana S. Wilcher on June 13, 2005. The task force developed recommendations for possible improvements that could be made in the 404 program should it be administered by the state.
If the 2006 General Assembly appropriates funding, the EPPC will seek broader public participation to further explore whether Kentucky should pursue assumption, and, if so, will coordinate with all interests to draft a comprehensive regulatory program. EPPC would then make a recommendation to the Governor, who would make the final decision about whether to apply for state assumption of the program.
The task force’s report is available online at <http://www.water.ky.gov/taskforce/>