Engineering Inc. - July/August 2015 - (Page 6)

EPA Releases Final Wetlands Rule T he Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final "Waters of the United States" rule in late May, which seeks to clarify criteria for federally funded waters and wetlands. ACEC, along with many other industry groups, had expressed concerns of EPA's initial proposal to broaden and clarify federal jurisdiction over tributaries, adjacent waters and wetlands. In the final rule, EPA sought to further clarify coverage of adjacent or neighboring waters, putting wetlands, ponds, oxbows, impondments and other water features in the 100-yearold floodplain, and within 1,500 feet of a "navigable" water, under federal jurisdiction. EPA has yet to publish the rule in the Federal Register, which will start the clock on the 60-day deadline for implementation. The House has already voted twice this session to kill the water rule, which has generated opposition from a number of government and industry organizations, including the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Homebuilders, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. The rule may also draw court challenges, as attorneys general from Arkansas and Oklahoma have already indicated plans to take legal action to block the measure. Congress Advances Legislation to Curb Patent Trolls T he House and Senate Judiciary Committees have cleared bipartisan legislation to protect engineering firms and other businesses from so-called patent "trolls." Patent trolls send letters to businesses demanding payment for infringement of certain business process pat- 6 ENGINEERING INC. ents, such as commonly used technologies to scan and send documents. The Senate bill (S. 1137), introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), would require judges to award attorneys' fees to defendants in patent disputes if the plain- JULY / AUGUST 2015 tiff's case is determined to be unreasonable. It would establish rules governing demand letters, such as requiring more information on the alleged patent infringement, and empower the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the new rules. It would also require patent holders to sue manufacturers before going after users of the technology. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) authored the companion House bill (H.R. 9). Floor action is expected this summer. President Obama has indicated his support for the legislation. DANIELA DUNCAN/GETTY IMAGES Legislative Action

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - July/August 2015

Engineering Inc. - July/August 2015
From ACEC to You
Market Watch
Legislative Action
Secrets of the Centenarians
State of the Industry
Reshaping Cities
2015 Professional Liability Insurance Survey of Member Firms
Girl Empower
2015 Fall Conference
Guest Column
Guest Column
Guest Column
Business Insights
Members in the News
Mergers and Acquisitions

Engineering Inc. - July/August 2015