Dear Governor Bullock:
States play an invaluable role in the protection and conservation of our nation’s vital water resources. Through the model of cooperative federalism, the Clean Water Act made sure the protection of water quality was the shared responsibility between state and federal governments.
Specifically, Section 401 of the Clean Water Act supports this system of shared responsibility by providing federal and state governments distinct roles in certifying federally-permitted or licensed activities. States certify that discharges associated with projects requiring federal approval will comply with the applicable water quality requirements. And the federal government is obligated to implement the program consistent with the statute.