By CRAIG WILCOX, Local Issues Committee Chair
Over the last six months, the Post Falls Chamber Local Issues Committee, along with members of the Coeur d’Alene Chamber Public Policy, has been conducting an investigation of Waste Water Permits being issued to the state of Idaho.
After countless hours of intense work, we would like to make a plea to our residents and elected officials. The plea is based on our opinion that the Clean Water Act and the operation of the EPA no longer serves American citizens, nor does it provide meaningful upkeep of our environment which we do value.
Our communities in Kootenai County will be forced by the EPA, not asked, to build $150 million in water treatment facilities to “help” clean a reservoir in Washington; however, the $150 million will only provide a 3 percent improvement for the reservoir and will potentially triple your sewer bill. This expense is horrendous, but we also face a growth moratorium which will likely drive away any construction and repel new employers, which will be far more devastating.
Also, the standards we are being forced to meet fall outside the guidelines of the Clean Water Act. This is the purpose of the lawsuit our cities have currently filed against the EPA. The economic impact of forced permits will be immense, imminent and will affect you directly.
Our first plea is to encourage our state lawmakers to establish what is called “primacy.” Primacy is what gives our state the ability to write our own permits rather than giving full control to the EPA. Though there is an unattractive expense associated with primacy, the cost will be worth taking control away from the EPA.
The second plea is to encourage U.S. law makers to proceed with a complete revamping of the Clean Water Act and to perform a full make-over on the operational procedures of the EPA.
Perhaps the intent of creating the Clean Water Act in 1972 was well founded. We all want clean water. We do not argue the importance of environmental oversight. But through our investigation, we are compelled to state that the current function of the Clean Water Act and the EPA do not accomplish what they were intended to. Instead of resolving environmental problems, they create economic problems. Instead of representing and collaborating with the public they’re expected to help, they chose to divide, conquer and enforce regulations with little or no “check and balance.”
The EPA will only listen to you in person in a public hearing after these permits have been finalized. Arm yourself with information. Doing nothing is the only failure.
For more information please contact Craig Wilcox at (208) 667-1212 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.