The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Final Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters Report, which is intended to support EPA’s sweeping, proposed Waters of the U.S. rule.
The final report concludes that streams, regardless of their size or frequency of flow, are connected to downstream waters and notes that many isolated waters affect downstream water quality. The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) submitted extensive comments on both the Connectivity Report and rule, noting that proposed vast expansion of waters under federal jurisdiction would be devastating to the aggregates industry and impact the price of aggregates and the products that they go into – like highways.
“While the Connectivity Report shows that waters are connected, this has never been in question. EPA failed to address the issue the courts have found crucial: whether such connections significantly affect downstream waters. Now EPA is justifying its vast overreach based on a flawed process.”said NSSGA’s Director of Environmental Services Emily Coyner.
NSSGA said it applauded those producers that that wrote the EPA to comment on the rule and continues to deliver copies of producer comments to members of Congress. NSSGA urges members to continue to press their federal legislators to block finalization of the proposed rule because of its potentially harmful impacts on the aggregates industry and, more broadly, to America’s economy.
Despite the fact that EPA received more than 900,000 comments, the agency’s plan to finalize the rule in spring 2015 is unlikely to address major industry concerns.