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Road Builders drive another stake through Waters of U.S. rule

Sources: American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)

In comments submitted to the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee, ARTBA contends that the Environmental Protection Agency’s contentious “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule should be repealed as it is scientifically and legally flawed; threatens recent bipartisan achievements in reducing transportation project delays; and, is likely to be used as a litigation tool to delay projects, making construction more expensive.

“[A]ny reduction in delay gained from improvements to the project delivery process would likely be negated by the increased permitting requirements and opportunities for litigation caused by the WOTUS rule’s expansion of federal jurisdiction,” ARTBA tells the EPW Committee. Along with its work on Capitol Hill, the association is involved in litigation over the rule, implementation of which has been stayed by a federal court of appeals. Additionally, ARTBA supports a President Donald Trump directive for the EPA to repeal WOTUS.

Under the Obama administration-promulgated rule, the agency attempts to redefine what bodies constitute the “waters of the United States” and are therefore subject to federal authority. Before the WOTUS release, ARTBA told EPA on several occasions that “roadside ditches are not, and should not be regulated as, traditional jurisdictional wetlands as they are not connected water bodies and they contribute to the public health and safety of the nation by dispersing water from roadways.” Instead of categorically exempting roadside ditches from federal jurisdiction, ARTBA observes, the rule contains a litany of qualifications they must meet to be deemed exempt from federal permitting requirements.