WOTUS heads to the White House for Review

The 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule will no longer be in effect, barring a legal stay, on Dec. 23, 2019. Photo by John Salzarulo for Unsplash.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) final rule to replace the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule moves toward becoming a final rule. According to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), the rule is now at the White House to undergo interagency review. 

A replacement rule is expected by January 2020, with the 2015 rule being withdrawn in late December.

“NSSGA looks forward to a final WOTUS rule that provides clean water for everyone and legal clarity for NSSGA members,” said Emily Coyner, NSSGA senior environmental policy director, in a press release.

The association advocated “that ephemeral and isolated waters, pits and water treatment systems (including settling ponds) should never be federally regulated waters.” The proposed 2018 WOTUS rule reflected this input.

Special committee explores impact of Texas mining

A bipartisan committee, as well as TACA President and CEO David Perkins and Capitol Aggregates President Greg Hale, will review the impact of mining on surrounding communities.

Legislators and aggregate industry representatives will serve on a special bipartisan committee that explores the impact of Texas mining on the surrounding communities and explores the efficacy of current regulatory oversight. Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R) announced the appointment of the committee on Dec. 10.

According to the Statesman, the committee formation follows a series of stories that highlighted industry growth in the Hill Country in both the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV.

“My desire is that this committee will work to find common ground between industry and community and find paths that will increase public safety without endangering economic growth and prosperity,” state Rep. Terry Wilson, a Burnet County Republican who is heading the House Interim Study Committee on Aggregate Production Operations, told the Statesman.

The committee will include seven state representatives, David Perkins, director of the Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, and Greg Hale, president of Capitol Aggregates. It will evaluate crushing operations, concrete batch plants, and asphalt plants across the state.

The Statesman notes it will also “study the enforcement of regulations already in place; nuisance issues relating to the dust, noise and light; threats to the safety of and damage to roads; air quality; blasting enforcement; the distance between facilities and adjoining properties; and whether the state should adopt laws requiring operators to restore the land once they have completed mining.”

Perkins said he anticipates the committee could make recommendations that result in additional regulatory requirements and also might discuss voluntary approaches operators could take to be better neighbors.

“I think all of those are going to be on the table,” he told the news outlet. “I think we have some valuable perspective to offer, and hopefully that will result in whatever the outcome is being workable and an improvement.”