By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

The Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC) of nearly 50 pro-business groups has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to clarify new environmental rules, including those for roadside ditches.

Under its Nationwide Permitting Program (NWP), the Corps allows projects with minimal impacts to operate under a variety of general Clean Water Act permits rather than having to procure a more expensive and time-consuming individual permit.

The coalition’s Nov. 16 letter supports the NWP while also urging the Corps to make the necessary changes to ensure it complies with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which earlier this year replaced the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.

Because NWPR has a less expansive view of federal jurisdiction than WOTUS, the Corps must ensure that permits issued under the NWP reflect this. The coalition comments focus specifically on the difference in the manner ditches are treated by NWPR and WOTUS as an example of the changes to federal jurisdiction.

ARTBA is a member of the WAC steering committee and will continue to monitor federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction, including the NWP.