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C33C8B655F5CF9F48725877B005FB8B5 Hearing Summary


Date Oct 27, 2021      
Location SCR 357

Presentation on Dredge and Fill and Waters of the United States - Committee Discussion Only

11:25:34 AM  

The committee reconvened.

11:27:05 AM  
Shaun McGrath, Director
of Environmental Health & Protection Services, Colorado Department
of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), introduced the presentation (Attachment
D).  He discussed how the department is involved in federal rulemaking
and the current status of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition.
11:33:25 AM  

Mr. McGrath talked about permits related to dredge and fill practices, and how CDPHE handles the permitting process.

11:38:30 AM  

The committee asked about the impact on wetlands. Mr. McGrath spoke about how they are tracking the impacts on wetlands.

11:41:11 AM  

The committee asked about the confusion over the WOTUS definition and the history of federal changes. Mr. McGrath told the committee about how confusion has developed over time with the different rules coming from the federal level.

11:46:49 AM  

The committee continued to ask about how CDPHE manages different types of streams and water from rainfall. Mr. McGrath told the committee about jurisdictional determination, which guide how certain waters fall under the WOTUS definition.

11:53:36 AM  
Nicole Rowan, Director,
Water Quality Control Division, CDPHE, provided more information about
how the definition is being applied to streams in Colorado.  Mr. McGrath
spoke about what is considered jurisdictional and the shifts in the definition
that has occurred over the last few presidential administrations.  
11:58:31 AM  

The committee asked about the change in water quality since the Clean Water Act and about CDPHE requests for legislation. Mr. McGrath told the committee that the department is not pursuing legislation on the topic at this time. He does think there could be something Colorado could do to make it so that the state could handle the changes at the federal level.

12:07:04 PM  

The committee asked about the future of the permitting process. Mr. McGrath told the committee that CDPHE is attempting to address potential needs for state gap waters. Ms. Rowan spoke about the future of environmental protection of the waters through a permitting process.

12:13:00 PM  

Mr. McGrath discussed where CDPHE would be involved in future legislation and federal rulemaking.

12:19:02 PM  

The committee discussed how the state can respond to different rules coming from the federal level going forward.

12:27:23 PM  

Michael Gifford, President, Associated General Contractors, spoke about his role in the permitting process as a general contractor.

12:30:15 PM  
Alex Funk, Director
of Water Resources and Senior Counsel, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation
Partnership (TRCP), introduced his presentation (Attachment E).  He
gave background about his organization and why clean water and watersheds
is important.
12:37:32 PM  
Mr. Funk spoke about
the TRCP National Survey and what the organization found out about the
stance of hunters and anglers when it comes to wetlands and headwater streams.
 He spoke about the other benefits of healthy headwater streams for
people and communities.
12:38:51 PM  
Mr. Funk discussed
the impacts of the Clean Water Act in Colorado and how United State Supreme
Court decisions have changed the the scope of the Clean Water Act over
the years.  He told the the committee about the most recent Navigable
Water Protection Rule when it comes to ephemeral and intermittent streams.
12:46:48 PM  

The committee asked about the definition of a stream related to the map shown on slides 8 and 9 of the presentation (Attachment D). Mr. Funk elaborated on how the streams are defined in the and where the current types of streams exist.

12:51:52 PM  

Mr. Funk spoke about the next steps when it comes to the rulemaking process and potential legislation.

12:57:04 PM  

Garret Varra, Varra Companies, spoke about the need to mine in certain areas and the need to have a robust process related to a permitting process.

01:01:58 PM  

Alex Schatz, Brannan Sand and Gravel Company, spoke about the rulemaking effort at the federal level and how the rules are implemented with the dredge and fill program. He told the committee about the impacts on current projects going on in Colorado.

01:06:52 PM  

The committee asked about fines related to permit violations. The panelists said they do not have concerns about fines at this time. Committee members continued to make comments about fines related to dredge and fill permit violations and the Clean Water Act. The panelists spoke about the different permits that they have to pull for different projects.

01:14:12 PM  

The committee made comments about how to protect water in Colorado and losing water in different regions.

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