Mark Williams, environmental manager at Luck Companies, testified in the hearing, “Stakeholder Perspectives on the Impacts of the Biden Administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule,” which was held by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.
Responsible for Luck Companies’ environmental compliance and community engagement, Williams is a former chair of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) Environmental Committee and the 2019 recipient of the NSSGA Environmental Leader Award.
During the hearing, Williams highlighted the important work of the aggregates industry and its history of environmental stewardship practices, while noting the confusion that the new WOTUS rule has created.
“As the industry that provides the basic material for everything from the roads on which we drive to purifying the water we drink, NSSGA members are deeply concerned that EPA’s new WOTUS rule will further complicate an already lengthy and burdensome permitting process to establish or access new aggregates resources,” said Williams. “We want to do things the right way, but this unclear rule makes it nearly impossible to know what the right way is.”
He also emphasized the challenges this rule will create for the aggregates industry, hurting companies like his, as well as the ripple effects on the whole country.
“While the new rule is being portrayed as a familiar regulation it in fact poses more questions than it answers making it very difficult for businesses in the aggregates industry to plan and hire the workforce needed to supply materials,” said Williams. “According to our industry estimation, this rule will add years of additional permitting delays and cost inefficiencies for any new aggregates facility being permitted.”
Other witnesses on the panel include NSSGA’s water advocacy coalition partners from the home builders and agriculture industries. NSSGA’s advocacy efforts on Clean Water Act jurisdiction goes back decades.
NSSGA said it continues to meet with lawmakers and staff to share industry stories. Most recently in Congress, both chambers have issued a joint resolution on this rule asking for its repeal. NSSGA is fully supportive of this legislative action.