EPA releases final waters rule

By |  May 29, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which expands the federal government’s jurisdiction beyond legal limits but excludes existing quarry and construction pits, reports the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA). However, the rule will subject areas such as dry stream beds to permit requirements.

“NSSGA members work diligently to protect our nation’s water resources, following existing federal, state and local laws,” says Mike Johnson, NSSGA CEO and president. “This rule will add significant costs to aggregates producers with little or no environmental benefit. The increased costs and delays will be passed along to the taxpayers through a higher price tag for infrastructure projects like highways.”

To state its opposition to the expansion of EPA authority, NSSGA members met with EPA officials and submitted comments on the rule, says Pam Whitted, NSSGA senior vice president.

Although NSSGA members are pleased about the rule’s exclusion of quarry and construction pits, the EPA failed to “add clarity when that was the rule’s intended goal,” says Johnson.

For example, existing EPA guidance excludes dry streams from the agency’s control, but deeming them waters of the U.S. increases federal jurisdiction over them. In addition, the rule allows for jurisdiction over a number of ditches, which goes beyond congressional and court limits, reports NSSGA.

“What this rule really does is allow federal control over vast areas of land that can stop or delay vital projects needed to provide for our infrastructure,” says Johnson.

Allison Barwacz

About the Author:

Allison Barwacz is the digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Portable Plants magazine, GPS World magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.

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