Indiana Farm Bureau thanks those members of Indiana’s congressional delegation who signed a letter asking EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to return to her agency a proposed rule that greatly expands the scope of federal power under the Clean Water Act (or CWA). The letter, drafted by House members Reps. Chris Collins, R-New York, and Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, was signed by seven of nine members of Indiana’s congressional delegation: Reps. Susan Brooks, R-Congressional District 5; Larry Bucshon, R-CD 8; Luke Messer, R-CD 6; Todd Rokita, R-CD 4; Marlin Stutzman, R-CD 3; Jackie Walorski, R-CD 2; and Todd Young, R-CD 9. “We are grateful that these members of our delegation recognize the proposed EPA rule for what it is,” said IFB president Don Villwock. “It’s a stunning regulatory land grab that completely redefines “navigable” waters, is based on flawed data, and will create confusion leading to future litigation.”
On March 25 the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule that would assert CWA jurisdiction over nearly all areas in the country with any hydrologic connection to downstream navigable waters, including man-made conveyances such as ditches. The new rule would directly contradict prior U.S. Supreme Court decisions that imposed limits on federal CWA authority. IFB’s national policy advisor Kyle Cline echoed Villwock’s concerns about EPA’s regulatory overreach and blatant disregard for Congress. “The current EPA proposal is in complete opposition to the original intent of Congress when they passed the Clean Water Act,” Cline said. “This proposed rule is yet another example of how the EPA is attempting to overstep Congress to achieve its own goals.”
IFB encourages its members to learn more about the proposed rule and participate in the comment process at its website, www.infarmbureau.org/waterrule, or the American Farm Bureau Federation’s site, ditchtherule.fb.org. The deadline to submit comments to the EPA is July 21.