TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Halt EPA and the Corps’ Overreaching Clean Water Act Regulation
Comment on Massive Expansion of Federal Jurisdiction in “Waters of the U.S.” Proposed Rule
Next week, the House is expected to vote on H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection
Act. This bill would halt the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps)proposed rulemaking that redefines
“waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act (CWA) by preventing the agencies
from developing guidance or interpretative rules based on it. The bill also
requires the agencies to engage in a federalism consultation with state and
local governments to form recommendations for a consensus regulatory proposal. Tell
your Representative to vote in support of this important legislation.
The EPA and Corps rule expansively defines waters – claiming
traditionally navigable waters, tributaries (including ditches), impoundments,
adjacent waters (including waters in the floodplain or riparian areas), and
“other waters” all as federally jurisdictional. More projects will have to
obtain Section 404 permits, increasing the time and cost of performing
In addition to the Section 404 impacts, many other federal
permits will be required. Under the proposal, many other parts of the CWA are
affected by the definition of “waters of the U.S.,” such as Section 311 Oil
Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures or Section 402 National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permits, which are triggered by
many types of construction activities across the nation and will therefore have
a direct and significant impact on construction operations.
EPA also chose to not wait for a final peer review of their
Connectivity Report, touted as the basis of the proposed rule, by the
EPA’s own Science Advisory Board. The economic analysis that EPA has undertakenseriously underestimates impacted
acreage and also completely ignores impacts to non-404 programs. Recognizing that state and local governments
are currently managing water resources that are not under federal control, it
is unclear why the agencies rushed through these important procedural steps
designed to ensure that construction companies are protected. These state and
local governments were also not consulted prior to the rulemaking.
information, please contact Scott Berry at email@example.com or (703) 837-5321.
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Science Committee Releases EPA State-by-State Maps Showing Potential Extent of Water Rule
The House Science Committee has obtained and released maps
developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) that depict water resources on both a national and
state scale. The Science Committee learned that EPA had prepared these
maps prior to their July 2014 hearing on the rule
proposed by EPA and the U.S. Corps of Engineers (Corps) defining ‘waters of the
United States’ (WOTUS). It has become clear that EPA had no plans to release
the maps to Congress or the public. This is part of a disturbing trend of EPA tightening its grip
on the information released to the public, press, and Congress about the Clean
Water Act rulemaking.
The maps themselves are from the National Hydrography
Dataset (NHD) and show permanent streams, something less than all intermittent
streams (i.e., streams that flow seasonally), and as little as 30 percent of
ephemeral streams (i.e., streams that flow only in response to rainfall or
snowmelt). It is important to understand that the maps do not show a “before
and after” regulatory picture. Some of the features depicted on the maps are
already WOTUS; many are not. The maps offer a conservative look at the linear
water features that exist in each state. With the proposed rule including
tributaries for the first time as WOTUS, and defining tributary as any feature
with a bed, bank, and ordinary high water mark, these maps show many of the
features that could become federal waters.
Many other features that would be jurisdictional post-rule
do not appear on this map, like the networks of roadside, irrigation, and
stormwater ditches that crisscrosses urban, suburban, and rural
landscapes. The rule goes beyond what this map shows as well, including
waters that are adjacent to jurisdictional waters, such as water features in the
ill-defined floodplain and riparian areas. There is also a category of “other
waters” that would be jurisdictional on a case-by-case basis wherever EPA
determines a significant nexus to jurisdictional waters can be found.
For more information, please contact Scott Berry at
(703) 837-5321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Congress Returns Next Week to Face a Must-Pass Funding Bill
The congressional appropriations process for fiscal year
2015 started with a fair share of optimism that Congress could return to a more
traditional process as opposed to having to rely on continuing resolutions in
the absence of passing annual appropriations bills. The optimism was as a result of the
bipartisan budget deal reached last December by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan
(R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Chairperson Patty Murray (D-Wash.). That deal set discretionary spending caps for
2015 at $1.014 trillion. Even with the
spending caps in place, Congress failed to send any of their annual
appropriations bills for 2015 to the president’s desk for his signature.
Now, as Congress returns from their five-week August recess
next week, they must once again rely on passing a continuing resolution (CR) to
keep the government operating beyond the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. Congress needs to act quickly if they are to
avoid a government shutdown, which is what happened last year after an impasse
on the CR led to a 16-day shutdown.
As with most temporary agency-wide funding extensions, AGC
is concerned about the potential adverse impacts on contractors working on
federal projects when agencies face funding uncertainty.
For more information,
please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or email@example.com.
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House Majority Leader Lays Fall Plan
Republicans today outlined their intended priorities for the pre-election
session of Congress. As detailed above, the primary goal of the session is to
prevent another government shutdown and keep the government funded until after
also want to make sure that the legislation passed during this time focuses on
promoting economic growth. In addition
to the legislation to block the vast expansion of EPA regulatory authority of
water and wet areas mentioned above, the House plans to address the Affordable
Care Act’s 30-hour definition of full-time employment, its grandfathering
provisions and modify it to encourage hiring of veterans. They also want to
pass legislation to limit unfunded mandates and block regulations that could
hamper small business lending. In
addition, they want to pass bills to make the bonus depreciation and expensing
provisions permanent. The House will also likely take up legislation on the
Keystone XL pipeline and expanding development of U.S. energy resources.
Only a few weeks of legislative action are scheduled between now and the
end of the month. The House looks to be
busy for the next few weeks.
information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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AGC Opposes USACE Mandated-PLA
Recently, AGC sent a letter
opposing the possible use of a project labor agreement (PLA) mandate posted by
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District for a
large-scale construction project in Riverside County, California.
AGC has sent over 90 letters to federal agencies opposing
PLA mandates and bid preferences during the Obama Administration, most in
response to agency announcements that a PLA mandate or preference was under
consideration for a particular project or an anticipated set of projects in a
particular area. Of those, only one PLA mandate has been issued to date.
AGC neither supports nor opposes contractors’ voluntary use
of PLAs on government projects, but strongly opposes any government mandate for
contractors’ use of PLAs. AGC is committed to free and open competition for
publicly funded work, and believes that the lawful labor relations policies and
practices of private construction contractors should not be a factor in a
government agency’s selection process. To view AGC efforts opposing government
mandated PLAs, click
information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at (703) 837-5325 or email@example.com.
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Democrats Drop Out to Back Independent Candidates
Alaskan Democrats and Independents just approved a
gubernatorial campaign deal that will change the 2014 general election turnout
dynamic, and at least indirectly affect the toss-up U.S. Senate campaign
between Sen. Mark Begich (D) and former Attorney General and Natural Resources
Department director Dan Sullivan (R).
The four Democratic and Independent gubernatorial and Lt. Governor candidates
(in Alaska, the candidates for Lt. Governor win individual nominations, but
then become part of a party gubernatorial ticket during the general election)
have negotiated an arrangement to combine their candidacies.
The agreement means candidate Bill Walker will continue
his bid for Governor on the Independent ballot line. The Democratic
gubernatorial nominee, former Alaska Permanent Fund director Byron Mallott,
agrees to end his campaign and joins the Independent ticket, with the official
blessing of the Democratic Party, as the Lt. Governor nominee. Democratic and
Independent Lt. Governor nominees Hollis French and Craig Fleener,
respectively, are voluntarily terminating their candidacies.
Polling consistently showed that Gov. Sean Parnell (R), whose job approval
numbers have lagged, would win a three-way contest against Walker and Mallott,
but is essentially even with this new unified Independent ticket.
It's clear the Democratic Party leadership and activists are doing what they
can to defeat Gov. Parnell, even to the point of relinquishing their own party
candidacy. It remains to be seen if their ploy works, but it does change the political
dynamics in Alaska, at least for the short term.
Yesterday, Kansas Democratic Senatorial nominee Chad
Taylor ended his candidacy, thus giving competitive Independent Greg Orman a
better chance of unseating Sen. Pat Roberts (R).
Public Policy Polling conducted a post-August 5th primary survey (8/14-17; 903
KS likely voters) and found Mr. Roberts leading a three-way race, but
attracting only 32 percent support. More significantly, the incumbent trailed
Orman by 10 percentage points, 33-43 percent, when the two were isolated. This,
and the results from private internal polling, were key factors in Taylor
making his exit decision.
Though the Democrats give up the opportunity of converting the Kansas seat for
one of their own party members, they are coalescing with a political soul mate.
Orman toyed with the idea of previously entering a Democratic statewide
primary, but chose against doing so. Therefore, should he be successful in
November and particularly achieving victory with regular party activist and
donor help, Orman would certainly join the Senate Democratic caucus to deny the
GOP a critical seat and allow his allies to maintain their majority.
The move definitely moves the race closer to toss-up status. The Democrats are
now forcing the GOP to spend serious resources to protect a state that should
be an easy hold. The move enhances the party's ability to protect its tenuous
majority, even though the Democrats have lost their own party nominee.
For more information,
please contact David Ashinoff at (202) 547-5013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Early Bird Discount Expires Tomorrow – Don’t Miss Out
AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference
Jointly sponsored by the Associated General Contractors of
America (AGC) and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), theAGC/CFMA
Construction Financial Management Conference, held Nov. 5-7, 2014 in
Las Vegas, Nev., was developed in response to a need for programs and workshops
designed specifically for financial professionals in the construction industry.
The three-day conference is filled with 36 interactive
sessions, covering the latest industry issues and their financial implications.
Sessions are delivered “group-live” and are at intermediate, overview and
update program levels. There are no prerequisites or advanced preparation
Information about the conference can be found
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