CONNstruction - Winter 2015 - (Page 22)

feature What You need to Know About WOTUs By Pamela J. Whitted, Senior Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, NSSGA A major victory in the fight to stop the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule was achieved on Oct. 9 when the U.S. Court of Appeals-Sixth District issued a nationwide stay of the rule that will likely be in effect at least until the end of 2015. This ruling agrees with many of National Sand Stone and Gravel Association's (NSSGA's) problems with the rule; however, it will likely be years before this case is decided by the Supreme Court. While NSSGA is optimistic that ultimately the rule will be overturned, there is a chance the industry will be subject to the rule and must be prepared for its implications. Clean and safe waters are essential to every community, and fortunately the enforcement of the Clean Water Act already does a good job. However, the EPA is attempting to expand its jurisdiction under the guise of further improving the quality of water with its WOTUS rule (FR Volume 80, No 124, 37057). Because of the broad expanse of the rule, aggregates producers will face increased permitting burdens and may be 22 / connstruction / WINTER 2015 at risk of fines under the Clean Water Act for activities that did not previously require a permit. NSSGA has long opposed WOTUS, because the costs of compliance vastly outweigh the minimal environmental benefits. "The WOTUS rule is one of the most egregious examples of federal agency overreach that I have ever seen," said Michael W. Johnson, NSSGA president and CEO. "The rule is so all-encompassing that vast areas of the American landscape, including areas that are dry most of the year, fall under the agencies' new authority. It simply makes no sense." Although the rule is not expected to significantly change permitting procedures or costs for operations with approved expansion plans, the costs and challenges to permit new operations or expand existing ones will increase. NSSGA actively engaged the misguided EPA by highlighting the flaws of the proposed rule both in person and through extensive comments and filed a lawsuit in order to stop the rule. Under the EPA's Clean Water Act, the agency regulates the types and abundance of materials from municipalities and industrial operations that could enter a navigable water, like streams and rivers, or a smaller tributary that feeds into these waters. Quality aggregates are often found near navigable waters. Operations mining these areas are subject to regulation through the CWA 404 B "dredge and fill" permit program, which is administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. To meet these Clean Water Act standards, operators carefully evaluate water features on new sites or areas for expansion, often hiring consultants to determine which are jurisdictional. These findings are then confirmed with the local Army Corps of Engineers office. If it is determined that jurisdictional waters cannot be avoided, a permit is required. For aggregates operations, the permitting process can take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete. High costs are often incurred through mitigation by replacing impacted wetlands or parts of streams with similar features on larger, off-site areas of land. Under the WOTUS rule, this process will continue

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Winter 2015

The Big Dam Challenge
MDC’s Office of Diversity: Promoting
Call Before You Dig – System Enhancement!
Cleaning Water, Creating Jobs
Connecticut’s New Port Authority Key to Economic Growth
40-Year Old Treatment Plant Gets Royal Flush Upgrade
What You Need to Know About WOTUS
AGC of Connecticut Industry Recognition Awards
Connecticut Environmental & Utilities Contractors Association Annual Fall Meeting
Diggers Mixers Fixers – 2015 Golf Outing!
CCPC – 2015 Summer Outing!
2015 Young Contractors Forum bus trip to the new Yankee Stadium
2015 YCF Fall Membership Meeting
Index to Advertisers/ Published

CONNstruction - Winter 2015