The aggregates industry is a responsible steward of the environment. Many of our products are used for environmentally beneficial purposes like flue gas desulphurization, the technology used for removing sulfur dioxide (SO2) from power plant emissions that burn coal or oil. Other environmental uses include erosion control, water treatment, and aglime (agricultural limestone) application on fields, which helps crop production by improving the efficiency of fertilizers and herbicides while protecting the environment. We also reclaim and return the land we use to communities by converting quarries to anything from wetlands to lakes, wildlife habitats, recreational centers, and even amusement parks and golf courses.
NSSGA 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. The aggregates industry recognizes that sustainable practices are necessary to preserve the potential for quality life for future generations.
NSSGA supports the cultural ideal and experience of America – freedom to choose where to work, live, and travel. We believe the American dream of home ownership and the ability to choose an urban, suburban, or rural domicile and workplace is still viable and necessary. NSSGA supports quality growth that takes a commonsense approach to protecting endangered species and the environment and depends on local land use planning, reduction of congestion — which will save Americans billions of 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.
Wetlands / Clean Water Act
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers have issued a final rule expanding the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA) beyond traditionally navigable waters to include isolated wetlands, ditches, and dry stream beds, which would lead to increased permitting requirements for aggregates producers raising costs ultimately borne by taxpayers. It is an attempt to implement administratively legislation that was rejected by Congress in the past. NSSGA opposes this expansion and has provided examples to illustrate the major expansion of jurisdiction and potential economic impacts to aggregates, which the EPA vastly underestimates. NSSGA submitted voluminous comments on what has been called the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, proposed rule and facilitated the submission of comments by over a dozen state aggregates associations. Unfortunately, congressional efforts to stop or slow the rule have been unsuccessful. Accordingly, NSSGA has joined litigation to overturn the rule.
NSSGA’s members have a small carbon footprint. Nevertheless, NSSGA developed a greenhouse gas emissions calculator allowing NSSGA members to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions and to take voluntary steps to reduce their carbon footprint even further.
NSSGA supports congressional efforts to hold the Executive Branch accountable for its 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. Rules issued by EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, MSHA, and OSHA are increasingly burdensome to the aggregates industry and threaten job creation. NSSGA supports rules and regulations based on sound science and thorough cost-benefit analysis.
Endangered Species Act Reform
NSSGA endorses reforms of the Endangered Species Act 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 incentives wherever possible to conserve habitat and to provide regulatory certainty to property owners who voluntarily participate in conservation plans.