Legislation has been introduced in the House to stop attempts by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to expand federal power under the Clean Water Act and extend the government’s regulatory reach to every ditch, puddle and pond in the country. The bill – H.R. 4965 – was introduced by leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Agriculture Committee. It would prohibit the Obama Administration from finalizing or implementing the EPA and Corps Clean Water Act guidance to broaden the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Act.
Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas says the new authorities granted in this guidance would mean farm ponds, stock tanks and seasonal runoff ditches could conceivably be included under new regulations. He says the economic impact on farmers, ranchers and rural communities would be devastating. Lucas says the President and his EPA must stop the pattern of over-regulation and intrusion into individual and state rights.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica says the Administration is doing everything it can to increase costs and regulatory burdens for American businesses, farmers and individual property owners. He notes this federal jurisdiction grab has been opposed by Congress for years – and says the Obama Administration and its agencies are ignoring law and rulemaking procedures in order to tighten the regulatory grip over every water body in the nation. According to Mica – the Administration needs to realize it’s not above the law.
NCBA Supports Measure to Stop Clean Water Act Manipulation
The legislation introduced Friday to prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from using their clean water guidance to expand the regulatory regime under the Clean Water Act has the support of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council. According to NCBA President J.D. Alexander – the Administration has used guidance documents as opposed to going through the rulemaking process – which allows government officials to bypass the consideration of legal, economic and unintended consequences. While the guidance claims to provide clarity and certainty to landowners – PLC President John Falen says the only thing livestock producers can be clear and certain about if the guidance is finalized is more federal regulation and costly permits.
Despite three Supreme Court rulings and a letter from 170 members of Congress opposing the guidance – Alexander says EPA and the Corps have crowned themselves kings of every drop of water in the country. He says the bill introduced by the leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Agriculture Committee is the best path forward in preventing the guidance from becoming reality.
Source: NAFB News Service