By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

ARTBA Vice President of Regulatory and Legal Issues Nick Goldstein voiced the association’s views on repealing and rewriting the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule during a March 19 hearing of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Corps of Engineers (Corps) officials.

Goldstein offered support for the EPA and Corps proposed rewrite of the WOTUS rule, which would exempt roadside ditches from federal jurisdiction. Removing ditches from federal regulation would restore clarity to these regulations and help reduce delays to important transportation projects.

“Requiring wetland permits for ditch construction and maintenance would force project sponsors and the private sector to incur new administrative and legal costs,” Goldstein said in his prepared statement. “This, in turn, would lead to increased project delays and divert resources from timely ditch maintenance activities, potentially threatening the role ditches play in promoting roadway safety.

The proposed rule would replace the 2015 WOTUS definition from the Obama administration. ARTBA and its industry allies are currently challenging the 2015 rule in federal court.

Public comment on the new rule is open until April 15. ARTBA will submit written comments in support of the rule.