In November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quietly released draft guidance on when discharges to surface waters via groundwater would require a Clean Water Act section 402 permit (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System). Regulated entities will need to determine whether a permit is necessary before discharges occur, and EPA will act if unauthorized discharges to waters of the United States (WOTUS) are discovered. This new guidance may impact the common practices of groundwater recharge and reinfiltration.

On Dec. 1, AGC raised concerns with the Interim Draft of the National Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) Field Delineation Manual for Rivers and Streams that federal agencies are using to identify tributaries and assert federal jurisdiction. (See coalition letters here and here.) The OHWM defines the boundaries of federal jurisdictional over a water and plays a role in calculating any required mitigation under the Clean Water Act. The manual takes an overly broad approach that could sweep in more water features as jurisdictional waters of the United States (WOTUS).

On November 22, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Performance Measure final rule. You might recall, AGC issued this action alert, filed comments with FHWA, and supported congressional efforts to block the rule.

Please join AGC of America on January 11, 2024, from 2:00pm ET to 3:00pm ET for a virtual townhall staff update on federal environmental regulatory initiatives and AGC’s advocacy efforts. Open to all AGC members and Chapters, the meeting also provides an opportunity for industry professionals from various sectors to share best practices, discuss federal or state environmental and sustainability trends, and collaborate on ways to improve performance across the entire construction industry. There is no charge, but you must register to reserve a seat—click here.

AGC of America is now accepting session proposals for AGC’s 2024 Construction Safety, Health & Environmental Conference (July 16-18, 2024, in St. Louis, MO). This notice is a call for presentations for a limited number of speaking opportunities.

Together, AGC of America and its Illinois Chapters have achieved a major breakthrough as to commercial general liability insurance (CGL) coverage for construction defects under Illinois law. The Illinois Supreme Court issued its opinion in Acuity v. M/I Homes of Chicago, LLC, Docket No. 129087 on Nov. 30, 2023. The case involved CGL coverage for construction defects resulting in water damage to a townhome project. In that context, the Supreme Court clarified the law to agree with many state supreme courts that such property damage is an “occurrence” in Illinois. The Supreme Court’s clarification is extremely favorable to the construction industry and was supported by an amici curiae brief sponsored by AGC of America, National Association of Home Builders, American Subcontractors Association and local chapters in Illinois.

On July 17, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule that expands the current recordkeeping requirements, and goes into effect on January 1, 2024, to mandate the submission of Form 300-Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses and Form 301-Injury and Illness Incident Report in addition to Form 300A-Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses data from construction establishments with 100 or more employees. Establishments with 20 to 99 employees continue to be required to submit only Form 300A-Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses data. AGC communicated our concerns with the rule to OSHA during the rulemaking process.