EPA takes action to rescind WOTUS rule

By |  June 28, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Army and the Army Corps of Engineers are proposing a rule to rescind the Clean Water Rule and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to 2015 to define “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS.

If left uncontested, the rule would have allowed the federal government to regulate dry stream beds and isolated wetlands in an expansion of jurisdiction over waters that have little or no connection to flowing streams and rivers, reports the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA).

When finalized, this action would provide certainty in the interim, pending a second rulemaking where the agencies would re-evaluate the definition of “waters of the United States,” according to the EPA.

“We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” says Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator. “This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.,’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

“NSSGA members fully support the administration’s effort to removing rules that would increase costs for aggregates operators with no environmental benefit,” adds Mike Johnson, president and CEO of NSSGA. “If left in place, the current rule will have a direct impact on costs, timing and deliverables for vital infrastructure projects. We are preparing comments for EPA on this matter and look forward continuing to work with the administration to refine costly and burdensome regulations.”

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