EPA Reverses on New Stormwater Permits as ARTBA Hails Decision

Fri February 24, 2012 - National Edition

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has been heard loud and clear by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when it comes to the issue of stormwater permitting.

The federal agency February 16 issued new general permits for stormwater runoff from construction sites which did not include controversial “one size fits all” requirements long opposed by ARTBA. According to ARTBA, the omission was a long sought after result for the transportation construction industry.

“Any future measures affecting transportation projects should allow the flexibility necessary to ensure stormwater issues can be addressed in a manner suited to the individual nature of the project,” ARTBA Assistant General Counsel & Director of Regulatory Affairs Nick Goldstein testified at an EPA Stormwater Regulation Listening Session in Washington, D.C. on Janurary 28th of last year. He added that “issues of cost and liability need to be taken into account to ensure any new regulatory regimens do not result in additional years of delay and unnecessary costs to projects.”

Originally, EPA had wanted to include a single, uniform standard for runoff in all of its permits for all construction sites, meaning that a project in an extremely wet area would be treated the same as one in an extremely dry area.

For the past five years, ARTBA has repeatedly submitted comments and testimony to EPA saying that builders and planners needed flexibility for stormwater permits to account for different weather conditions across the country under which projects are built. Transportation projects are initiated in every part of the country, and those in areas with heavy rainfall should not be held to the same standards as those in arid regions, the association said.

The full text of the association’s many comments can be found in the “regulatory affairs” section of www.artba.org.