New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 11, 2018) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick water expert Daniel J. Van Abs can provide insight on today’s federal proposal to reduce environmental protection for certain waters under the Clean Water Act.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army proposed “a clear, understandable, and implementable definition of ‘waters of the United States’ that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act,” according to an EPA statement. Such waters would not include “features that only contain water during or in response to rainfall (e.g., ephemeral features); groundwater; many ditches, including most roadside or farm ditches; prior converted cropland; stormwater control features; and waste treatment systems.”

“New Jersey has assumed Clean Water Act Section 404 jurisdiction for all state wetlands except for the saltwater marshes of the Hackensack Meadowlands, which will be regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under both the 2015 and 1986 federal definitions,” said Van Abs, an associate professor of practice for water, society & environment in the Department of Human Ecology. “New Jersey laws are more stringent than federal laws and the concern is primarily for wetlands degradation in neighboring states that lack our stringent state laws.”

Van Abs, who works in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, is available to comment at [email protected]


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