On Jan. 8, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached a settlement in a lawsuit with the Wisconsin Builders Association, the National Association of Home Builders and the Utility Water Act Group by proposing to withdraw the numeric limitation it had set to control storm water runoff from construction sites, and by amending several of the non-numeric/BMP requirements. The EPA also agreed to pursue additional improvements to the 2009 rule.
The lawsuit had noted that the EPA’s numeric limit would have cost stakeholders up to $10 billion a year in attempts to comply, and that it was impossible to come up with one number that would work across all geographic areas and soil types.
The question now: Is this just? On the one hand, the point about one number not fitting all does make some sense; on the other, that number was chosen to control potentially harmful runoff. Is it possible to satisfy powerful interest groups while still protecting the nation’s waterways?
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