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H.R. Letter of Support

ARTBA H.R. 5078, The "Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act" Letter of Support

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H.R. Letter of Support

  1. 1. _ America” Plaadé. TRANSPORTATION Transportation Builders ma/ «es -I AMERICA WORK‘ j I ‘ ” . Association Terr" -- September 8, 2014 Dear Representative: On behalf of the more than 6,000 members of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association ARTBA I ur e on to su ort H. R. 5078 the “Waters of the United States Regulatogy Overreach Protection Act, ” sponsored by Representative Steve Southerland (R—Fla). This legislation would prohibit the promulgation of a proposed rule drafied by the U. S. Enviromnental Protection Agency (EPA) to dramatically increase federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA). ARTBA is particularly concerned with the treatment of roadside ditches under the proposed rule. Current federal regulations say nothing about ditches, but the guidance expands EPA jurisdiction to the point where virtually any ditch with standing water could be covered. There is no environmental advantage to be gained from regulating roadside ditches not connected to tributaries or other waterways. Further, roadside ditches are nog, and should not be regulated as, traditional iurisdictional wetlands since they are an essential part of any transportation improvement project and contribute to the public health and safeg of the nation by dispersing water from roadways. Requiring a permit for every ditch, regardless of ecological value, would lead to lengthy delays and significantly increased costs for future transportation improvements and yield no ecological value in return. In addition, the proposed rule creates a completely new concept of allowing for “aggregation” of the contributions of all similar waters “within an entire watershed. ” This concept results in a blanket jurisdictional determination—meaning the EPA could regulate the complete watershed. Such a broadenin of 'urisdiction would literall leave no trans ortation ro'ect untouched regardless of its location, as there is no area in the United States not linked to at least one watershed. While there are certainly instances where a permit is appropriate for the impacts of transportation construction, these situations should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis where specific environmental benefits can be evaluated. To prevent EPA’s unprecedented attempt to expand CWA jurisdiction ARTBA urges you to su ort H. R. 5078 the “Waters of the United States Re Iato Overreach Protection Act. ” Sincerely, CZ4«»x. T. Peter Ruane President & CEO Plllvllf ErnarIss, iyi| n,n, rI“anI; ‘nn THE ARTBA BUILDING, 1219 28TH ST. . N. W., WASHINGTON, D. C. 20007 Phone: (202) 289-4434 - Fax: (202) 289-4435 0 Internet: www. artba. org