Environmental Observer
The Associated General Contractors of America | Quality People. Quality Projects.
www.agc.orgMay 30, 2014 / Issue No. 4-14
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On the Inside
New Report Finds EPA Economic Analysis of ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule Deeply Flawed
WRRDA Overwhelmingly Passes in House & Senate
Endangered Species
Administration Proposes Changes to Endangered Species Act Critical Habitat Designations and ‘Adverse Modification’ Definition
Green Construction
AGC Focuses on Improving the Resiliency of Our Infrastructure for Building Safety Month
GSA Updates P100: Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service
EPA Selects 171 Communities for New Brownfield Investment Grants, Announces Job Training Grants Recipients
EPA Calls for Comment on New Framework to Identify Lead-Based Paint Hazards
News & Events
AGC Welcomes New Members to AGC’s Environmental Forum Steering Committee
Will You Join Us for AGC’s Contractors Environmental Conference? It Is Just Two Weeks Away!
Follow @AGCEnvironment for Compliance and Sustainability News Relevant to Construction Professionals
New Report Finds EPA Economic Analysis of ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule Deeply Flawed

A new report released this week is sharply critical of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) estimates of probable costs and benefits associated with the proposed rule on “Waters of the United States,” and finds that EPA significantly underestimates the economic impacts the rule will have on local communities and businesses.  The rule would re-defining the scope of waters and other wet areas regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA), and trigger the need for permits to discharge dredged or fill material or other pollutants, reporting hazardous substances releases and oil spill control planning.

Dr. David Sunding’s report, Review of 2014 EPA Economic Analysis of Proposed Revised Definition of Waters of the Unites States, examines the economic methodology EPA uses to justify its significant expansion of the term “Waters of the United States” in the rule to include previously unregulated waters located in floodplains and riparian areas, ditches, and “other waters.”

Dr. Sunding, an economist on the faculty of the University of California-Berkeley and a principal with The Brattle Group, chronicles how EPA systematically excluded costs, underrepresented jurisdictional areas and used flawed methodologies to arrive at much lower economic impacts. He also examines how the lack of transparency in the report makes it difficult to understand or replicate the calculations, evaluate the underlying assumptions, or understand discrepancies in the results. Dr. Sunding concludes “The errors, omissions, and lack of transparency in EPA’s study are so severe as to render it virtually meaningless. The agency should withdraw the economic analysis and prepare an adequate study of this major change in the implementation of the CWA.” AGC and its coalition partners in the Waters Advocacy Coalition met with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) earlier this year to present a preliminary version of Dr. Sunding’s findings in advance of the rule’s release.

Read the full report here.  To read the proposed “Waters of the United States” rulemaking and submit comment, click here.

For more information, contact AGC's Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org. Return to Top

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