By Nick Goldstein
ARTBA members were busy this summer building and repairing the nation’s roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure.
Likewise, the association was also active filing regulatory comments on a wide range of issues important to its membership. The association filed 12 sets of comments on the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposals to improve the regulatory process, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), project labor agreements (PLAs), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), among others.
Since June 1, ARTBA:
- Urged the Trump Administration to overturn an executive order mandating PLAs for federal-air construction projects;
- Supported common-sense legislative reforms to the ESA (including more predictable permitting schedules and better science for determining critical habitat);
- Supported EPA and the U.S. Army Corps’ of Engineers (Corps) efforts to withdraw the 2015 WOTUS rule through both individual and coalition comments. Additionally, ARTBA, as part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC), reminded the agencies that any new version of WOTUS must abide by limitations set by the Supreme Court in the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers case;
- Supported legislation introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) aimed at improving the Clean Water Act permitting process;
- Supported an EPA proposal to increase considerations of costs and benefits during the rulemaking process and a proposal to increase transparency over the data used by agencies to make regulatory decisions;
- Supported efforts by Nebraska to assume control over the NEPA process, which help reduce delays in the project review and approval process; and
- Recommended changes to the NEPA process in response to a request from the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).
Such activity will not be slowing down any time soon. The Trump administration has initiated multiple new rulemakings directly related to ARTBA’s regulatory reform priorities. They include:
- Revisions to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s recordkeeping rules addressing ARTBA’s concerns about the privacy of employer’s data;
- Discussing the impact stricter corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards have on Highway Trust Fund (HTF) revenues; and
- Multiple revisions to the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules.
ARTBA will comment on all these issues and continue to represent the industry on the regulatory, legislative and litigation fronts.
For example, ARTBA continues to litigate the repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule in the federal courts. At the same time, we await the administration’s new version of WOTUS, which we hope will bring clarity to the issue and state definitively that federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction does not include roadside ditches.
As always, you can keep track of all of these issues online with ARTBA’s Regulatory Scorecard, which is updated monthly.
Nick Goldstein is ARTBA’s vice president of legal & regulatory issues.