American Road & Transportation Builders Association sues EPA over roadside ditch proposal

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The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and a coalition of other groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in federal court on Wednesday over the agency’s recent proposal that expands federal jurisdiction over roadside ditches.

On Dec. 30, the EPA announced a final rule establishing the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The rule returns to a framework established in 2015 with updates to reflect science, existing Supreme Court decisions, and the agency’s technical expertise. This is the third time in seven years the agency has attempted to define WOTUS.

The lawsuit contends the rule will slow the delivery of transportation projects and threatens to nullify the benefits of the 2021 federal infrastructure law. It also contends that the rule violates the Clean Water Act and the U.S. Constitution, will increase the cost of obtaining regulatory permits and will lead to inconsistent analyses.

“Unfortunately, the third time is not a charm in this case,” Nick Goldstein, ARTBA vice president of regulatory and legal issues, said. “The latest WOTUS proposal could result in regulatory nightmares at a time when both parties in Congress, though the bipartisan infrastructure law, have emphasized the need to reduce delays and deliver transportation improvements to the communities who need them most.”