Sink floodplain threat to aggregates

The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association pushed back against a White House Executive Order so broadly written that it is unclear whether aggregates operations are included or not. 

The association urged that aggregates operations be excluded from the Revised Guidelines for Implementing Executive Order (EO) 11988, Floodplain Management in a May 6 letter.

“Aggregates operations must be located where high quality aggregates have been placed by nature. In many cases, quality deposits are located within a floodplain, so any change to what is considered a floodplain will disproportionately increase the regulatory burden on the aggregates industry, and ultimately impact public works projects such as roads and highways,” stated the NSSGA letter. Numerous producers and state associations also weighed in on the issue.

The EO requires each affected agency (EPA, FEMA, Fish and Wildlife, etc.) to incorporate a new floodplain definition and flood-risk reduction strategies into their existing programs and regulations, but the scope could include projects well beyond the 100-year floodplain.  With the recently proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act under the “Waters of the US” rule and expansion of “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act, this could significantly impact aggregates operations in floodplain areas.

“Taken together these changes are burdensome and unnecessary,” said Pam Whitted, vice president, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association. “Our letter is just a first step. As this action lacked any sort of transparency or study, Congress is already reviewing the White House’s action.”

Source

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