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EPA/OW RIN: 2040-AF86 Publication ID: Spring 2019 
Title: Clarification of State Certification Procedures Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act 

Section 401 of the Clean Water Act requires that any applicant for a Federal license or permit to conduct an activity which may result in a discharge to navigable waters obtain, from the State in which the discharge would originate, certification that the discharge will comply with the State's applicable water quality requirements, including effluent limitations, water quality standards and toxic and pretreatment effluent standards. The current regulations were promulgated in May 1971, five months after the creation of the EPA. They pre-date the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 and were based on section 401’s predecessor, section 21(b) of the Water Quality Improvement Acts of 1970. The regulations describe the process of certification and the process for notifying neighboring jurisdictions. In 2010, the EPA provided stakeholders with an interim handbook called "Clean Water Act section 401 Water Quality Certification: A Water Quality Protection Tool for States and Tribes." In accordance with Executive Order 13868, "Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth,” the EPA will update guidance and initiate rulemaking to clarify section 401 to allow for efficient energy infrastructure permitting processes and increased regulatory certainty.

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
EO 13771 Designation: Other 
CFR Citation: 40 CFR 121   
Legal Authority: Not Yet Determined   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  08/00/2019 
Final Rule  05/00/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State, Tribal 
Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Donna Downing
Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Water
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1367
Fax:202 566-1375