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NSSGA joins coalition in fight against WOTUS rule

By |  January 20, 2023
EPA under the Trump administration argued that the Navigable Waters Protection rule ended decades of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. Photo: P&Q Staff

The Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration argued that the Navigable Waters Protection rule ended decades of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. Photo: P&Q Staff

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) joined the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the National Mining Association (NMA) and others in filing a complaint in a U.S. district court over the new waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers finalized a rule near the end of 2022 that establishes yet another definition of a WOTUS. EPA says the new rule restores essential water protections that were in place prior to 2015 under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for traditional navigable waters, territorial seas, interstate waters and upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters.

In the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, NSSGA and other organizations write that “the rule imposes impossible – and unpredictable – burdens on land owners, users, and purchasers. It requires them to assess not only their own land, but also vast expanses of land beyond their own holdings, using multiple vaguely defined connections to potentially remote features, in an effort to determine if their land is regulated under the CWA.”

Michael Johnson, president and CEO of NSSGA, issued a written statement about the filing on behalf of his organization.

“The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had no reason to finalize this new rule when the Supreme Court is deliberating the concept of significant nexus underpinning the rule and due to release a decision within a few months,” Johnson writes. “Having a new rule that is likely to only be in effect for a short time – the fifth in a decade – will have a chilling effect on the aggregate industry’s ability to provide materials needed for vital infrastructure projects. The new rule is vague, reaches too broadly and will slow down or halt projects, increasing costs and impacting jobs all without improving water quality.”

Among the other organizations joining NSSGA, ARTBA and NMA in filing the legal challenge over WOTUS are the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Petroleum Institute, the Associated General Contractors of America, Leading Builders of America and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

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Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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