Published On: 11/24/2015

SME Opposes EPA Rule Expanding Jurisdiction over Waters of the U.S.

The Society joins other industry groups to call for withdraw of proposal

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) has joined with 375 trade associations, professional societies and chambers of commerce from 50 states representing a wide range of industries to voice strong concerns with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule to dramatically expand the scope of federal authority over water and land uses across the United States. Led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the group submitted a letter on November 12, 2014 to both agencies calling for the proposal to be withdrawn.

“All of the members of the group want clean water—and in many cases depend on it for their businesses to survive. They have supported efforts under the Clean Water Act to protect water quality,” said the group in the letter endorsed by SME. “The proposed rule would have a devastating impact on businesses, states and local governments without any real benefit to water quality.”

Impacts of the “Waters of the United States” proposal:

  • The proposal would allow federal jurisdiction over intentionally created waters located in upland areas at mine sites.

  • Diversion ditches that redirect storm water runoff around mine sites would become “tributaries.”

  • Would expand federal jurisdiction over waters from 3.5 million river and stream miles to well over 8 million river and stream miles, affecting many sand and gravel operations.

The group letter, which calls for the proposal to be withdrawn, can be found on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website www.uschamber.com/.

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME) is a professional society (nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation) whose more than 15,000 membership represents all professionals serving the minerals industry in more than 100 countries. SME members include engineers, geologists, metallurgists, educators, students and researchers. SME advances the worldwide mining and underground construction community through information exchange and professional development. SME's staff is located in Englewood, Colorado.

For more information contact John Hayden, Deputy Executive Director - Public Affairs and Government Relations, at (303) 948-4250 or hayden@smenet.org.