PCA, Chamber sue EPA, Corps of Engineers over Waters of U.S. rule

Sources: CP staff; Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.

Portland Cement Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and three other plaintiffs are mounting perhaps the most decisive challenge yet to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) final rule, imploring a federal judge to vacate the measure in its entirety.

In their U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma complaint, plaintiffs contend WOTUS a) exceeds EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers’ authority under the Clean Water Act and Article I of the U.S. Constitution, and b) violates the Administration Procedure and Regulatory Flexibility Acts, along with State sovereignty reserved under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.

If the final rule takes effect, the complaint states, “Plaintiffs’ members will suffer real economic harm to their businesses and property values because they will be forced to submit to expensive, vague, burdensome, and time-consuming federal regulations before they can perform the most mundane activities on their property. Numerous industries representing a broad swath of the U.S. economy will feel the brunt.”

“Through WOTUS, federal regulators are asserting unprecedented regulatory authority over large and small bodies of water throughout the U.S., exceeding the scope that was set by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court,” affirms PCA CEO James Toscas. “This will create needless gridlock, delays, and cost for construction projects across the country, with little or no benefit to the environment.

“Cement manufacturers take environmental responsibility very seriously. Every cement plant in the United States complies with every existing state and federal water quality standard. WOTUS, however, includes an arbitrary, case-by-case determination as to what rules apply where, which would make compliance more difficult. We therefore stand with the [other plaintiffs] and call for a stop to this extraordinary and unnecessary expansion of federal authority.”

Joining PCA and U.S. Chamber in the suit are the National Federation of Independent Business, State Chamber of Oklahoma and Tulsa Regional Chamber. In tandem with PCA, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and other allied groups are monitoring WOTUS closely due to its potential for disrupting plant operations and construction contracts.

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