Farm Bureau Statement on WOTUS Jurisdiction Decision

The following may be attributed to Ellen Steen, General Counsel of the American Farm Bureau Federation:

“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled correctly today that federal district courts—not federal courts of appeals—have jurisdiction to review the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. This Supreme Court decision brings greater clarity to an important issue that has bogged down the litigation over this and other Clean Water Act regulations for years. That is a positive result, but it also creates uncertainty and confusion in the short term, because the Sixth Circuit must soon lift its nationwide stay of the 2015 rule.

“At this time, the Environmental Protection Agency has not yet finalized its proposed rule to delay the application of the unlawful and dangerous 2015 WOTUS rule while the agency considers whether to permanently repeal that rule. AFBF is considering its options to avoid application of the 2015 rule while EPA moves forward with an appropriate long-term solution that provides clear rules and clean water without requiring a federal permit to plow a field.”

Will Rodger
Director, Policy Communications
(202) 406-3642

Kari Barbic
AFBF Media Specialist
(202) 406-3672

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PASPGP-5 Training Marcellus Shale Coalition General Permit 5 Stream and Wetlands Encroachments

PASPGP-5 Training
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
4.5 Professional Development Hours (PDH) available!

The Marcellus Shale Coalition is pleased to offer to all oil and gas industry stakeholders the opportunity to attend a training session on the recently released Pennsylvania State Programmatic General Permit 5 (PASPGP-5).

Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (33 U.S.C. §1344) provides for the issuance of Department of the Army (DA) general permits (GP) on a statewide basis, which operate in conjunction with a State regulatory program that protects the aquatic environment in a manner equivalent to the DA regulatory program, provided that the activities permitted under each category of such GPs are similar in nature and result in no more than minimal individual or cumulative adverse effects on the aquatic environment.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Dam Safety and Waterway Management Rules and Regulations establish a statewide permit program for protecting the waters of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth’s procedures for the granting of permits require the PA DEP to apply evaluation criteria consisting of alternatives analysis (for non-water dependent activities), avoidance techniques, the minimization of impacts, and if a permit is to be granted, compensatory mitigation. The evaluative criteria within the Commonwealth’s program are similar to Federal criteria under Section 404(b)(1) of the Federal Clean Water Act.

The PASPGP-5, effective on July 1, 2016, authorizes impacts to stream and wetland encroachments and crossings in Pennsylvania. During this training, attendees will be educated on the requirements within PASPGP-5. Additionally, an update on the proposed wetland and stream assessment protocols that were released for public comment in 2014 and are approaching finalization will be discussed. Lastly, industry experts will present case studies that will demonstrate five methods for pipeline stream crossings and review lessons learned.
To download the training flier, click here.
Adam D. Beck, P.E.
General Manager – Gathering Construction, CONSOL Energy
Colonel Edward P. Chamberlayne
Commander, Baltimore District, USACE
Wade Chandler
Chief, Pennsylvania Section, Baltimore District, USACE
Sid Freyermuth
Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands, PA DEP
Dave Goerman Jr.
Water Program Specialist, Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands, PA DEP
Ramez Ziadeh, P.E.
Director, Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands, PA DEP

Other online training programs (CEUs and PDHs) and Resources for Professionals.

Clean Water Act Comments are Needed

by Peters Consultants, Inc.  100 Robbins Ave Berwick, PA  18603

The new rule, which was proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would codify their interpretation of the Clean Water Act after a 2006 Supreme Court ruling. In addition to navigable waterways, the rule provides EPA protection for certain wetlands and “seasonal and rain-dependent” streams.

The proposal would lead to stricter pollution controls on some of these areas and aims to resolve a long-running legal battle over how to apply the Clean Water Act to the nation’s intermittent and ephemeral streams and wetlands.

However, this rule could be a major intrusion for municipalities and landowners and a means to expand jurisdiction thereby regulating more property. Many of the new “definitions” are likely to cause more confusion instead of less. And, if enacted in its current form, the new rule could encompass lands that are wet and, in many cases, without beds and banks, as well as associated lowlands and transitional zones between open waters and upland areas.

Under these new definitions, almost any body of water, regardless of how small, could possibly be regulated. That means more projects and activities would be subject to permitting requirements, resulting in possible delays and significant additional costs.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would be extending the comment period for a regulatory proposal to expand the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. The 90-day comment period, which was set to end on July 21, was extended by an additional 91 days to October 20, following an outcry by a number of groups. The complexity of the proposed rule necessitated a lengthier comment period.

During the public comment period, municipalities, businesses, and citizens have the opportunity to express their concerns about the potential impact of the new proposed rule. So if you want to be heard and potentially sway the final wording of this proposed wide-sweeping rule, speak now. Comments must be received by October 20, 2014

If you are interested in participating in the EPA’s public comment period, contact your congressional representative or send an email to:

or mail comments to:

Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency
Mail Code 2822T
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20460
Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880

Original Article

Peters Consultants, Inc –

Peters Consultants, Inc. is a full service consulting engineering/design firm located in Berwick and Bloomsburg  Pennsylvania, and has provided professional consulting services in the engineering, environmental and land surveying disciplines to municipal, authorities, commercial, industrial and private clients since 1975.  We are a leading provider of engineering services in northeastern Pennsylvania by using sound and practical engineering judgment and skills when evaluating potential projects.

More Reading on Proposed Clean Water Act

Iowa State University – Proposed Regulations WOULD Greatly Expand Clean Water Act
Washington Post –
EPA Proposes Greater Protections
egal Review – Non-Jurisdictional Waters in the EPA’s Draft “waters of the US” Rule; Clean Water Act– “So here’s where the water really turns to mud on these non-jurisdictional waters. Can you and nine other people of normal but different intelligence and experience, exercising normal discernment, look at the same property and come to the exact same conclusion about which parts of the property are jurisdictional? And remember, the fine for being wrong could be a cool $75,000 per day. If not, then maybe there are some changes you could suggest to the EPA in the form of written comments to this rule.”
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