ABC Asks EPA to Withdraw its “Waters of the U.S.” Proposal

Contact: Jeff Leieritz (202) 905-2104
             [email protected]
                                                                                          For Immediate Release
November 14, 2014 

Washington, D.C. – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and more than 50 ABC chapters this week filed comments to voice deep concern over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule. ABC also filed additional comments with a group of 374 trade associations led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC).

The proposed rule would dramatically expand the scope of federal authority over water and land uses across the country and has met heavy opposition from a wide range of industries within the business community, a bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.

“The negative impact of this poorly crafted and overreaching regulation, particularly on small businesses, has been well documented and we urge the Obama administration to withdraw this flawed proposal immediately,” said ABC Vice President of Government Affairs Geoff Burr. “Unfortunately, this proposal will lead to more ambiguity and uncertainty for contractors, a more costly and time consuming permitting process and additional delays on jobsites, all of which will hamper job creation.”

In its comments, ABC and its chapters express concern that, “The uncertainty surrounding what will actually be considered ‘waters of the United States’ under this proposal, coupled with the EPA’s and Corps’ broad authority to make determinations, could chill any construction near waterways that could conceivably be covered by the rule. This will almost certainly lead to fewer projects overall and negatively impact job creation in the construction industry.”

The trade association group led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued comments that state, “The proposed rule is really about the agencies’ overreaching attempt to replace longstanding state and local control of land uses near water with centralized federal control. In light of the overwhelming evidence that the proposed rule would have a devastating impact on businesses, states, and local governments without any real benefit to water quality, the Agencies should immediately withdraw the waters of the U.S. proposal.”

WAC’s comments recommend “the agencies withdraw the proposed rule; engage in meaningful dialogue with the regulated community and States about more reasonable, focused, and clear changes to existing regulations; and initiate a replacement advanced notice of proposed rulemaking or notice of proposed rulemaking that reflects those consultations and is supported by science and case law.”

To read ABC’s comments, click here; to read the U.S. Chamber-led group of associations’ comments, click here; to read the WAC comments, click here.


Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association representing nearly 21,000 chapter members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically, profitably and for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at