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Posts tagged: wastewater

Idaho taking over water pollution permitting from feds

Despite Idaho’s vaunted distaste for the federal government, it’s one of just four states where getting a permit for dumping pollutants into waterways requires dealing with the federal Environmental Protection Agency instead of the state. That’s changing under a law that quietly cleared the Idaho Legislature without a single opposing vote this year. But the change means Idaho will have to add an estimated 25 employees over the next eight years at the state Department of Environmental Quality – in a GOP-dominated state where lawmakers also spend lots of time about talking about shrinking government.

“I have to suck it up and say yes, it’s worth it,” said former Idaho Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, who pushed persistently for the move during his three terms in the Senate; he’s also a former Post Falls mayor and city administrator. “I think it really does make more sense than letting the feds do it for us. It’s a better way to control our own destiny.” The only other states that currently have the EPA running their wastewater permitting programs are Massachusetts, New Mexico and New Hampshire; you can read my full Sunday story here at spokesman.com.

Idaho legislative panel to look into wastewater primacy for state

The Legislative Council, the leadership group that oversees legislative issues when the Legislature isn't in session, has voted unanimously this morning to have the Natural Resources Interim Committee look into whether Idaho should try to take over primacy on wastewater regulation from the EPA, and bring recommendations back to the Legislature. The Senate passed a resolution for such a study during this year's legislative session, but it didn't pass the House. “It's my understanding that the House … was not opposed to the consideration of the issue … but felt like this committee could be tasked to do it,” said Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls. House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, said he'd like to add Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, as an ad hoc member of that interim committee this year for that discussion. Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d'Alene, also was added.

There was no change in chairmanships for the four continuing interim committees that will meet this summer. Sen. Monty Pearce and Rep. Dell Raybould will continue to co-chair the natural resources committee; Sen. Curt McKenzie and Rep. George Eskridge will continue to co-chair the Energy, Environment and Technology Interim Committee; Sen. Dean Cameron and Rep. Gary Collins will continue to co-chair the Health Care Task Force; and Sen. Edgar Malepeai and Rep. Bob Nonini will continue to co-chair the Idaho Council on Indian Affairs.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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