Matthew Hinck, environmental manager, CalPortland Co., Glendora, Calif., has been selected to receive the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s (NSSGA) 2014 Environmental Leadership Award. NSSGA’s Environmental Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has made exemplary contributions to the industry’s environmental responsiveness, is involved with NSSGA’s environmental programs and has direct day-to-day involvement with his company’s environmental affairs.
“On one of the most crucial regulatory issues facing our industry, EPA’s unwarranted expansion of the Clean Water Act, Matt has led by example,” said NSSGA President and CEO Michael W. Johnson, announcing the award. “His willingness to meet with members of Congress and testify at a House Science Committee Field hearing helped the entire industry by fostering congressional opposition to the Waters of the U.S. rule.”
Johnson also noted that Hinck has chaired NSSGA’s Water Quality Task Force since its inception in 2011. He worked within CalPortland and with colleagues from other companies to present examples of how the rule would negatively affect the aggregates industry, particularly those in the western United States, and how it is an unnecessary and abusive regulatory overreach.
In addition to diligent efforts on the Waters of the U.S. rule, Hinck has helped other members with unreasonable water use fees, commented on stormwater requirements and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s silica rule.
One of the letters nominating Hinck noted, “Matt has earned credibility among the regulatory community representatives as a person who will respond efficiently and appropriately to any concerns … Matt’s knowledge of the regulations and best management practices for our industry combine to garner the trust and dialogue necessary to complete projects.”
The Environmental Leadership Award will be presented as part of NSSGA’s Opening General Session, March 16 at the association’s 2015 Annual Convention in Baltimore.
EPA Connectivity Report Flawed
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 concluded that streams, regardless of their size or frequency of flow, are connected to downstream waters and noted 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 is urging 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.
On Feb. 10-11, NSSGA producer members gathered for a Waters of the U.S. fly-in, which took place in Washington, D.C.
“We are going to be on the Hill, in force, to urge Congress to stop EPA and the Army Corps effort to radically increase the agency’s jurisdiction,” said NSSGA Vice President/Communications Bailey Wood.
A group of about 20 aggregates producers participated in the event, said Pam Whitted, NSSGA’s senior vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs. “It’s been a positive experience,” Whitted said. “The legislative staff members we met with were surprised when they learned about the far-reaching impact of the regulation.”
Whitted said when aggregates producers showed maps of the land that the legislation would cover, it made a huge impression. “They are accustomed to hearing what the impact is on agricultural land, but do not know about aggregates operations,” she said.