Legislative Affairs

Arizona State Capitol and House of Representatives

2018 Arizona State Legislative Session Summary

The 2018 Legislative Session has ended and ADEQ is pleased to announce that the session was beneficial in helping further our mission to protect and enhance public health and the environment by facilitating environmentally responsible economic growth, enhancing Arizona's unique environment and accelerating clean-ups.

ADEQ Bills: Federal Program Primacy

As a result of recent changes to federal regulations and operational practices, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now encouraging states to seek primacy or program authorization for additional federal programs. This unique opportunity allows ADEQ to enhance environmentally responsible economic growth by obtaining primacy and then redesigning permitting processes to eliminate redundancy, improve quality and reduce long permit cycle times currently experienced by EPA and other federal agency permit applicants. This Legislative Session, ADEQ sought and obtained legislative approval, including fee authority, to obtain primacy for two federal programs:

SB 1493 | Environmental Quality; Dredge, Fill Permits

(Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404)

Section 404 of the CWA establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into Waters of the United States (WOTUS), including wetlands. “Dredge” is material that is excavated from WOTUS. “Fill” is any material used for the primary purpose of replacing an aquatic area with dry land or changing the bottom elevation of a water body.

Currently, the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) administers the 404 program on behalf of EPA and takes more the 600 permit actions in Arizona each year.  With the successful passage of this bill, ADEQ is beginning the process to seek primacy of the program from EPA.  Stakeholder meetings will be initiated in June and the authorization request package is anticipated to be submitted to EPA in mid-2020.  Once ADEQ has primacy, we will be able to offer our customers faster permitting, local technical expertise, higher quality permits, and consistency across the CWA programs ADEQ currently administers.

SB 1494 | Environment; Underground Injection Control Program

The Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program regulates the underground injection or discharge of six categories of hazardous and non-hazardous liquid and gas. While ADEQ has existing partial authority to administer the program under Title 49, it was insufficient to obtain primacy and did not include a funding mechanism for some well categories. New wells subject to UIC regulation will be necessary as new mining and desalination technologies are developed in the state. With the passage of this bill, ADEQ can begin the stakeholder process to improve program administration and eliminate duplicative regulatory requirements that currently exist between Arizona’s Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) Program and UIC regulations.  ADEQ is currently developing a schedule for the rule development stakeholder process.

ADEQ Bills: Simplifying Regulation

In response to recent Executive Orders issued by Governor Ducey, ADEQ has continued review of existing statute and rule to identify regulations that can be simplified or eliminated to reduce regulatory burden while continuing to promote environmentally responsible economic growth. As a result, ADEQ again this year pursued an omnibus bill to implement statutory improvements outlined in the executive orders:

SB 1421 | Environmental Quality; Amendments

This bill’s statutory amendments mean that:

  • ADEQ will no longer be required to administer the Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Program (BCRLF) when there are no funds provided by the EPA
  • ADEQ will no longer be required to assist the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) in recruiting and training county health officials
  • The Director may require coordination with the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA) “as necessary” when monitoring water quality
  • ADEQ will no longer be required to publish a list of existing facilities that were required to obtain an Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) by 1992, 2004 and 2006
  • When a vehicle is relocated between dealerships for sale, it doesn’t have to undergo emissions testing each time; Certificates of Inspection (COI)s can be transferred