On Feb. 10-11, The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) organized a Waters of the U.S. fly-in, which took place in Washington, D.C. The effort is targeting members of Congress who are either on the bubble or are leaning against NSSGA’s supported position on this controversial issue.
“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.
The Waters of the U.S. rule would radically expand the scope of federal authority over water and land uses across the United States Aggregates producers believe that the policy change is unjustifiable and the cost to the American taxpayer and industry would far outweigh any benefit.
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.
The first day of the fly-in targeted Senate members, while the second targeted the House and specific committees.
“I don’t think I have ever seen a piece of legislation that has this much bipartisan opposition,” Whitted said.
NSSGA President and CEO Michael W. Johnson said, “The proposed rule is so sweeping that vast areas of the American landscape, including areas that are dry most of the year, would come under the agencies’ new authority. Expanding the definition of a ‘navigable’ waterway to include dry stream beds and areas that may not even be wet simply makes no sense.”
NSSGA is not alone in this fight. The U.S. Small Business Administration, state and local governments and other trade associations representing a broad swath of industries and interests are asking for the rule to be withdrawn.