WASHINGTON – More than a quarter of the members of the United States Senate have introduced legislation to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from what appears to be a bureaucratic power-play by the federal government by assuming jurisdiction over waterways that may not even have water in them.
The legislation would prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing a March 2014 proposed rule which would significantly expand federal authority under the Clean Water Act.
“There are some very real examples of overreach by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers that show how ridiculous this regulation is. It only serves to muddy the water of a dry creek. Redefining what a navigable river is, even claiming jurisdiction in places where water doesn’t flow, just shows how out of touch the Obama administration is,” Grassley said. “This is way beyond the law. Passing legislation is an uphill battle, but this usurpation of power has to be stopped.”
The legislation is in response to a March 25, 2014 proposed rule that redefines waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule would add most streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds and ditches within the United States to the jurisdiction of the federal government for permitting and regulatory requirements, which could result in significant red tape for Iowa farmers as they make routine decisions about how best to use their land. The EPA claims that the proposed rule will bring certainty and clarity to the Clean Water Act, but the rule appears to do just the opposite in addition to broadly expanding the agency’s jurisdiction.
The bill prevents finalization of the agencies’ proposed rule. It also prevents the EPA and the Corps of Engineers from using the proposed rule or any substantially similar rule or guidance document in any other rulemaking or regulatory decision.
The legislation is being led by Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi of Wyoming. Grassley is cosponsoring the bill along with Senators David Vitter of La., Pat Roberts of Kan., Roy Blunt of Mo., Mike Johanns of Neb., Ted Cruz of Texas, Mitch McConnell of Ky., John Cornyn of Texas, John Thune of S.D., Jim Risch of Idaho, Marco Rubio of Fla., Mike Crapo of Idaho, Roger Wicker of Miss., Jim Inhofe of Okla., Tom Coburn of Okla., Jeff Sessions of Ala., Pat Toomey of Pa., John Boozman of Ark., Deb Fischer of Neb., Orrin Hatch of Utah, Rand Paul of Ky., Johnny Isakson of Ga., Dean Heller of Nev., Thad Cochran of Miss., Saxby Chambliss of Ga., John Hoeven of N.D., Mike Lee of Utah, and Richard Burr of N.C..