States assuming responsibility over wetlands: State assumption as a regulatory option for protection of wetlandsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
While States have initiated their own wetland protection schemes for decades, Congress formally invited States to join the regulatory game under the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1977. The CWA Amendments provided two ways for States to increase responsibility by assuming some administration of Federal regulatory programs: State programmatic general permits and State assumption. States are also active in conservation programs such as preserving and managing wetlands. State programmatic general permits (SPGP) allow a State to become the sole permit issuer under an existing State-permitting program for projects that have similar characteristics and will have low environmental impacts. SPGP have gained popularity whereas, in contrast, State assumption has been less popular with only two States adopting such a program. In most instances, State assumption grants more permitting authority to States but also places a heavier burden on the State with a stricter application and approval process, a greater funding obligation, and a larger regulatory responsibility.