Current date/time is Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:50 am

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  • Wally's Thoughts

    I could not find how to insert a document, only a table and image so here is the pasted version of Wally Iman's original email on February 20, 2017: Since she is closest to the situation, I had started to write Lakeya over the weekend about Scott Pruitt and the Trump Administration’s approach to reigning in the EPA which is most certain to happen. My question was going to be “what does this mean to the future of mitigation?” But, I thought it would be better to set out some thoughts for future discussions; individually, or as a group. There will, no doubt, be change, so I started reading up a little more yesterday. I think the best thing we can do at this point is to become more cognizant of goings on in our respective arenas and be prepared to bring your thoughts to future discussions on the future of mitigation. Beyond the changes to be brought to the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts and the relaxing or toning down of the Waters of the Unites States, one thread running through most of the conversation was the return of regulatory power to the states. This could be meaningful for us in Missouri and, as I see it, this as a place we may want to increase our focus. If the states become more responsible for administering clean water rules, this may be a stage from which we could project our views on improvements that could be made within the mitigation process, i.e., Corps issues, burdensome review teams and the time and money wasting aspects of the approval process. Everyone wants to deliver a quality product and this would be much simpler and substantially less costly if approval times were shortened. I do think that our positioning of Mitico and LLF with DNR will be a major benefit in coming years. Our January meeting with the Director of Policy, Robert Stout and Water Quality Coordinator Tim Rielly, laid the ground work for direct paths of communication with the agency that, if new powers are given to the states, surely will be the responsible agency for administering them. Also, with the new director coming from the home state of the Vice President, there may be some parallels we can draw from the way things were administered in Ohio. I can also visualize that mitigation may have serious challenges going forward. First, with the Waters of the United States definition changes in the wind, it could be hard to get our clientele to commit during the transition period. News of this is just hitting the papers after Pruitt’s Senate confirmation. But, the path seems clear. We have to recognize that we are a major player in mitigation in Missouri. If we want to maintain some level of participation in the decision making process in Missouri, we have to pay attention to what’s going on around us. Thus, my reason for writing this is simply to ask you to think about and listen to conversation regarding: 1. The potential effects of new policy on that which we do; 2. Enhancing our position as a leader in the field; 3. Any changes in the decision making process; and, 4. Ways to become agents of positive change. Part of the importance of being involved in the process is to how we can affect the “future of mitigation” in Missouri. As our industry is predominantly seen by industry as a necessary evil, we have to anticipate that there may be backlash and, likely, even attempts to thwart the mitigation effort completely. You may think that we can have little effect on regulation. But, I think this is not the case. If we become a part of a forum that proposes a means of streamlining the system and still accomplishes a quality result that meets the goals of the Clean Water Act, hopefully, we can be seen as a part of the solution rather than part of the problem. When you’re in an industry that has only two or three or four providers statewide, I think the best strategy is to be position yourself as an advocate for all sides: 1. The side of the consumer of our product (by delivering the best solution); 2. The side of the environment (maintaining the integrity of the “Act”; and, 3. The non-profit (portraying real, tangible, ancillary benefit) . This is why I think “Win-Win-Wins in Environmental Mitigation” is a good mantra going forward. Thanks, Wally
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