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Bill Detail: HB24-1379

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Title Regulate Dredge & Fill Activities in State Waters
Status House Committee on Finance Refer Unamended to Appropriations (04/15/2024)
Bill Subjects
  • Water
House Sponsors J. McCluskie (D)
K. McCormick (D)
Senate Sponsors D. Roberts (D)
House Committee Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources
Senate Committee
Date Introduced 03/20/2024
Summary

The bill requires the water quality control commission
(commission) in the department of public health and environment
(department) to promulgate rules by May 31, 2025, as necessary to
implement a state dredge and fill discharge authorization program
(program) and requires the division of administration (division) in the
department to administer and enforce authorizations for activities that will
result in the discharge of dredged or fill material into state waters. The
rules must focus on avoidance of, minimization of, and compensation for
the impacts of dredge and fill activity (activity), include application
requirements, and be at least as protective as the guidelines developed
pursuant to section 404 (b)(1) of the federal Clean Water Act.
The bill establishes duties for the division in administering the
program, as follows:
  • The division shall issue individual authorizations consistent
with the rules promulgated by the commission;
  • The division shall issue general authorizations for the
discharge of dredged or fill material into state waters from
certain categories of activities that have minimal effects on
state waters and the environment;
  • The division shall utilize the existing structure of
preconstruction notifications in the nationwide and regional
permits established by the United States Army Corps of
Engineers and issue general authorizations to be effective
for categories of activities that do not require
preconstruction notification; and
  • The division may include conditions in a notice of
authorization, on a case-by-case basis, to clarify the terms
and conditions of a general authorization or to ensure that
an activity will have only minimal individual and
cumulative adverse effects on state waters.
Compensatory mitigation is required in all individual
authorizations and in general authorizations where unavoidable adverse
impacts to wetlands will affect over one-tenth of an acre or, for streams,
where unavoidable adverse impacts greater than the threshold established
by the commission by rule will occur. Compensatory mitigation may be
accomplished through the purchase of mitigation bank credits, an in-lieu
fee program, or project-proponent-responsible mitigation.
Until the rules become effective:
  • The division's Clean Water Policy 17, Enforcement of
Unpermitted Discharges of Dredged and Fill Material into
State Waters, continues to be effective;
  • For projects that do not qualify for enforcement discretion
under the division's Clean Water Policy 17, the division
may issue temporary authorizations for the discharge of
dredged or fill material into state waters only under certain
conditions; and
  • Temporary authorizations must include conditions
necessary to protect the public health and the environment
and to meet the intent of the bill.
The division may issue a temporary authorization for a period not to
exceed 2 years.
The bill deems certain activities exempt and therefore does not
require a discharge authorization for, or otherwise require regulation of,
such activities. The bill also excludes certain types of waters from the
bill's regulatory requirements.
The bill clarifies that state waters includes wetlands.
In current law, with certain exceptions, an applicant for any water
diversion, delivery, or storage facility that requires an application for a
permit, license, or other approval from the United States must inform the
Colorado water conservation board, the parks and wildlife commission,
and the division of parks and wildlife of its application and submit a
mitigation proposal. The bill extends the same requirement to an applicant
for any such facility that requires an individual authorization from the
division.

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