…ARPA’s activities have included submission of comments, involvement in reviewing proposed legislative opposition language and participation in legislative hearings. That said, things have become even more interesting. Take a look at our updates on the Waters of the U.S. Rule HERE.
ARPA will be supporting the Arizona State Attorney General’s Office’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on the Waters of the flawed U.S. Rule. ARPA will be meeting with the Attorney General’s Office next week on a host of issues including recommendations regarding WOTUS. Our focus and request of Attorney General Brnovich will be a focus on the unique situations we face in the arid southwest in an attempt to segregate our comments due to the court’s efforts to consolidate the issues.
ARPA will be joining a lawsuit that is being filed by a business coalition led by the Arizona Mining Association and includes the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Arizona Farm Bureau. The focus of the lawsuit will be centered on the definition and application of the provisions related to “tributaries” in the rule. This issue is of significant concern in the arid deserts of Arizona. Separating the issue provides a greater likelihood the suit will not be consolidated or non-responsive to Arizona specific concerns with the final rule. ARPA counsel is reviewing the language currently.
The National Sand Stone and Gravel Association that were originally not planning to file suit has just informed ARPA that they will indeed be filing along with a national industry coalition that includes homebuilders, road builders and Farm Bureau. Interestingly, the first few pages lay out the arguments, and page 3 of the suit is most interesting: that the rule exerts “jurisdiction over a staggering range of dry land and water features – whether large or small, permanent, intermittent or ephemeral, flowing or stagnant, natural or manmade, interstate or intrastate.” The suit is mostly procedural in nature, but the dry land is an issue, just not specific to a region or industry, which is great news for Arizona.
What’s even more interesting is the Army Corps of Engineers had clear reservations from the start over the Environmental Protection Agency’s final Waters of the U.S. rule. Corps disagreed with multiple legal, scientific and technical aspects of the EPA’s proposal. Environmental Chairman, Gregg Monger stated, “It is very interesting that two agencies under the same administration could have come to two completely different conclusions?”
In documents requested by Congress, the Corps claims their organization was not party to of any type of analysis to reach the conclusions in the rule. The Corps also questions how they will be able to enforce a rule they do not fully support or understand.
As ARPA members are acutely award, the WOTUS rule would harm both the aggregates industry and our ability to move ahead on critical projects due to a vast expansion of the EPA’s current jurisdiction.