Issues: Environment and Sustainability

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Issues: Environment and Sustainability

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OKAA supports the cultural ideal and experience of America: freedom to choose where to work, live and travel.

OKAA believes the American dream of home-ownership and the ability to choose an urban, suburban or rural domicile and workplace is still viable and worthwhile.  Quality growth that takes a common sense approach to protecting endangered species and the environment depends on local land-use planning, reduction of congestion – which will save Americans some of the 4.2 billion hours per year they now spend stuck in traffic – and improvement of air quality by reducing emissions.  Reduction of gridlock and traffic congestion by improving old highways and building new ones helps to make our nation’s air cleaner.

The aggregates industry is a responsible environmental steward.  The industry’s products are used for environmentally beneficial purposes including flue gas desulfurization (the technology used for removing sulfur dioxide from power plant emissions), erosion control and aglime, which helps crop production by improving the efficiency of fertilizers and herbicides while protecting the environment.  Aggregates also are used for reclaiming land to provide communities a variety of positive land uses such as wetlands, lakes, wildlife habitats, recreational centers and even amusement parks, residential sites and golf courses.

Sustainability / Climate Change

OKAA identifies sustainability as a business approach that integrates environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic prosperity to ensure the long-term supply of aggregates materials to society.

OKAA recognizes that sustainable practices are necessary today to preserve the potential for quality life for future generations.  OKAA’s members have a small carbon footprint.  Nevertheless our national partner, NSSGA, has developed a greenhouse gas emissions calculator to allow its members to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions to take voluntary steps to reduce their carbon footprint. This calculator is also available to OKAA members

Wetlands/Clean Water Act (CWA) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed a “Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act” that would expand the jurisdiction the CWA beyond traditionally navigable waters to include isolated wetlands, ditches, and dry stream beds, and would lead to increased permitting requirements for aggregates producers.  The “guidance” appears to be an attempt to implement administratively legislation that was rejected by Congress in the past.  NSSGA submitted comments opposing the guidance and provided examples to illustrate the major expansion of jurisdiction and potential economic impacts to aggregates, which the EPA vastly underestimated in the guidance.  OKAA opposes EPA’s circumventing congressional action by issuing strict guidance without a formal rulemaking process and expanding the CWA beyond congressional intent.

Regulatory Reform

OKAA supports congressional efforts to hold the Executive Branch accountable for its excessive promulgation of new rules and regulations and the recent trend of issuing guidance or policy letters in order to circumvent the public comment and cost-benefit analysis processes.

These rules issued by EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration are increasingly burdensome to the aggregates industry and threaten job creation. OKAA supports rules and regulations based on sound science and thorough cost-benefit analysis.

Endangered Species Act Reform

OKAA endorses reforms of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that take a balanced approach to protecting endangered species while recognizing private property rights. When severe restrictions occur without compensation by the federal government, the ESA shifts costs and burdens to individual citizens that should be shared by all citizens. The Act should provide incentive,s wherever possible, to conserve habitat and to provide regulatory certainty to property owners who voluntarily participate in conservation plans.

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