Pruitt Confirmed as New EPA Administrator
On Feb. 17, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, after contentious debate and on a 52-46 vote that fell largely along party lines. Pruitt addressed EPA staff for the first time in his official capacity earlier this week, expressing the need for the agency to follow the “rule of law” and to bring regulatory clarity to businesses. Although he did not go into detail in his remarks, he also signaled an interest in partnering with states through federalism.
At this point, we are not clear on the specifics of President Trump’s plans for environmental policy. It has been widely reported in the press that Trump will issue significant new executive orders now that Pruitt is installed at EPA. For his part, Pruitt made it clear during his appointment process that he plans to fulfill President Trump’s campaign promises to focus on “job-killing” regulations, and has focused on the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the US regulations specifically. One point where Pruitt has signaled bipartisanship is his vocal support for the Agency’s water & wastewater infrastructure mission. This comes on the heels of the Trump campaign’s promise to triple the funding for the State Revolving Loan Fund programs.
AGC supports AG Pruitt’s appointment and will work with him to promote a pro-construction agenda at EPA.
For more information, please contact Scott Berry at [email protected] or Melinda Tomaino at [email protected].
EPA Has Issued a New Stormwater Permit; AGC Has You Covered
The permit serves as model for state permits and directly applies in ID, MA, NH, NM, DC, as well as US territories and Indian lands.
AGC will host a free WebEd on EPA’s new Construction General Permit for stormwater discharges on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, from 1:30 to 3:00 Eastern Time. To register, click here. During this hour-and-a-half program, EPA’s point person for the construction stormwater program will provide an overview of the 2017 CGP and new electronic filing requirements. The Chair of AGC’s Environmental Forum Steering Committee will lead a moderated Q&A session to address specific concerns for contractors. And AGC will share available SWPPP templates and other helpful resources.
For more information on the WebEd and to register, click here. Please also read AGC’s in-depth article about the new permit.
Confirmation Hearing Held for President-Elect Trump’s Pick for EPA Administrator
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a confirmation hearing this week for President-elect Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Pruitt is a fierce critic of the Obama Administration’s regulatory policy, and has lead the legal strategy against many of the administration’s signature environmental accomplishments.
Democrats questioned Pruitt on a range of issues from his positions on climate change and ties to the oil and gas industry, but failed to land any knockout blows. Republicans highlighted his opposition to regulatory overreach, especially large impact rules like the Clean Power Plan and definitions of Waters of the U.S. They also lauded his fight to champion the causes of farmers, ranchers, and small businesses.
Although the hearing was short on specifics as far as the Trumps plans for environmental policy, Pruitt made it clear he plans to fulfill President-elect Trump’s campaign promises on “job-killing” regulations. AGC supports AG Pruitt’s nomination and will work with him to promote a pro-construction agenda at the Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information, contact Scott Berry at [email protected] or (703) 837-5321.
EPA Scales Back Near-Road Emissions Monitoring Requirements
AGC members, particularly its highway contractors, may breathe a sigh of relief when learning that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule to relax a mandate for smaller cities to install near-road nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions monitoring stations. Indeed, it would not have been easy to administer a comprehensive monitoring network near roadways and obtain results that can be easily understood. Bad data could have pushed more areas into “nonattainment,” which puts highway/transit funding and new construction in jeopardy. AGC was also concerned about the increased use of roadway concentration data in future standard-setting processes or to inform transportation planning and decision making. (For instance, AGC recently responded unfavorably to a U.S. Department of Transportation proposal that contemplates measuring greenhouse gas emissions from on-road mobile sources as a way of evaluating highway performance.)
AGC had urged EPA to avoid imposing costly and unsubstantiated requirements on states to monitor and measure NO2 levels near roadways. EPA chose to finalize a wide-ranging monitoring provision in early 2010, despite AGC’s objections. Now, EPA is scaling back those requirements.
For more information, contact Leah Pilconis at [email protected] or (703) 837-5332.