Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory & legal issues, ARTBA

The Trump administration issued final rules on wetlands permitting and drones during its last week in office. ARTBA also submitted comments on groundwater jurisdiction. Here are more details and links to documents:

 

  • ARTBA’s Jan. 11 comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) say the agency’s proposed guidance on groundwater regulation will keep transportation projects moving without compromising environmental stewardship. The EPA had proposed guidance on how to treat discharges into groundwater under the Clean Water Act in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (Maui). Maui directed EPA to clarify when a discharge into groundwater is the “functional equivalent” of a direct discharge into navigable waters, thus requiring a federal permit.  ARTBA supported EPA’s assertion that a simple groundwater connection was not enough to require a permit, calling the guidance a “measured approach.”
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Jan. 13 reauthorized the Nationwide Permitting Program (NWP). It 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. ARTBA, as part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, supported the NWP’s renewal in November 2020.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Jan. 15 issued two major regulations on drone use: one regulates remote identification of drones, the other sets parameters on flying drones over people. Many construction sites use drones for tasks such as bridge inspections, lighting installation, project scoping and surveying, emergency response, and tracking of materials quantities. An ARTBA member task force is examining drones use in transportation construction.