Despite the WOTUS rule currently being under a judicial stay preventing implementations, the NSSGA is continuing to pressure Congress to fight this regulation that would extend the EPA’s jurisdiction over many areas not previously considered waters and increase permitting costs for aggregates operations and their customers.
Fiscal 2017 appropriations bills working through the US House of Representatives and US Senate include measures to prevent the EPA from enforcing the rule. Thee policy ‘riders’ were dropped from two previous appropriations bills in FY 2015 and FY 2016 shortly before passage due to a presidential veto threat. The NSSGA was however informed that Western House members met with House leadership to emphasise how essential stopping this rule is for their region and their efforts, along with grassroots advocacy, will hopefully help to keep the riders intact.
WOTUS is also in focus during congressional hearings in recent days.
“Erosion of Exemptions and Expansion of Federal Control – Implementation of the Definition of Waters of the United States,” was a hearing held on May 24 and included testimony from several members of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, of which NSSGA is an active member.During a Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee hearing last week, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said that “every taxpayer has to pay more because of these rules in order to construct or maintain a road.”
In a House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry hearing held the week of 16 May, witnesses discussed impacts of WOTUS on small family farms. While the focus was on agriculture and not aggregates, the rule’s uncertainty and lack of clarity are themes that are universal to many industry sectors.“NSSGA supports inclusion of a policy rider that would stop or defund the WOTUS rule,” said Pam Whitted, NSSGA senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs. “Our industry believes that this rule does not provide clarity and only increases EPA’s jurisdiction over waters that have little or no connection to flowing streams or rivers. Congress continues to show interest due to the grassroots advocacy from the aggregates industry about the disastrous effects this rule will have on our businesses and public works projects.“
Adapted from press release by Rebecca Bowden
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/the-americas/31052016/nssga-give-wotus-update-192/