Congress hears testimony on EPA water rule

By |  May 29, 2014

Memphis Stone & Gravel Co. Vice President Alan Parks testified before a Congressional hearing on the small business impacts of a rule proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would broaden the scope of waters subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

The hearing, which was held by the House Committee on Small Business and entitled “Will EPA‘s ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule Drown Small Businesses?,” focused on the jurisdictional overreach of the EPA’s proposed rule and its effect on small businesses.

Parks, a Pit & Quarry Roundtable & Conference participant, testified on behalf of NSSGA, sharing his company’s experiences with water permitting regulations. He discussed the difficulties a small aggregate operator faces under the current system and how this regulatory burden will become even more onerous under this proposed rule.

“Under the proposed rule, the aggregates industry will need more permits,” Parks testified. “The delay caused by multiple surveys, reports and additional authorizations will add significant  new costs during the permitting process, which could lead to abandoning projects once considered viable. There is much inefficiency in the current regulatory system; however, adding vague terms and undefined concepts to an already complicated program is not the way to improve the process.”

Parks reminded the members of the Small Business Committee that aggregates operators depend on reliable cost estimates and clear jurisdictional determinations.

“If it is determined development of a site will take too long or cost too much in permitting or mitigation, we won’t move forward on projects, including those vital to the transportation infrastructure needs of the nation,” Parks said.

To read Park’s testimony, click here.

Others testifying included Jack Field, owner of the Lazy JF Cattle in Yakima, Wash., who represented the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Tom Woods, owner of Woods Custom Homes in Blue Springs, Mo., who represented the National Association of Homebuilders.

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