WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and members of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee heard testimony from state regulators, including Arkansas Department of Environment Quality (ADEQ) Director Becky Keogh, on cooperative federalism between states and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and whether the system is working.
In her testimony, Keogh said Arkansas’s cooperation with EPA has become “a thing of the past.”
“The cooperative-federalism model that has defined Arkansas’s relation with the EPA beginning in the 1970s has morphed into something that can be better described as coercive federalism. We have seen a decrease in time and tolerance for State Implementation Programs (SIPs) and a dramatic increase in EPA takeovers, or Federal Implementation Programs (FIPs),” Keogh told Senate committee members.
Keogh told members that during the Obama Administration the EPA issued 54 federal take-over plans, ten times more than the three previous administrations combined.
Boozman asked the director if she was concerned about this trend. He followed up asking if state plans are integral to the Clean Air Act’s cooperative federalism structure where federal plans are intended only as a last resort.
The director responded that she is concerned about the trend and that sometimes federal plans are necessary, but the frequency and process has become alarming.
Today’s hearing is the latest in a long line of EPW Committee efforts to shine a light on how EPA mandates have eroded authorities that have traditionally been under states’ purviews.