House bill would halt expansion of water regs
“I believe in protecting our waterways, and that the Clean Water Act is the law of the land,” said Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). “This policy is too important to be done administratively and should go through a formal process, that’s why I am joining my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and supporting this bill. I was opposed to this Clean Water Act expansion when the Bush Administration tried it and now when the current Administration is trying it. We should not be regulating every puddle, pond and ditch. We need to provide certainty in our permitting process so agriculture and businesses can predict and plan for the future.”
“This bipartisan effort should be a message to not only the EPA, but to all federal agencies that it is unacceptable for unelected bureaucrats in Washington to expand their authority on their own initiative,” said Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio). “This legislation is critical to beat back the overreach of the EPA and I am proud to sponsor it alongside the Chairmen and Ranking Members of both the Agriculture and Transportation Committees.”
In February, EPA and the Corps sent a final guidance document entitled “Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act” to the Office of Management and Budget for regulatory review. Mica, Lucas, and Gibbs joined Senate Republicans in writing to the Office of Management and Budget to oppose changes to the scope and meaning of the Clean Water Act sought by the administration through guidance.
Statutory changes to the Clean Water Act must be submitted to Congress for legislative action, and regulatory changes require a notice and comment rulemaking, according to the Administrative Procedure Act.
The legislation introduced Friay prevents the administration from skirting the law and would require a formal rulemaking for any attempt to change the definition of “waters of the United States” and increase the federal government’s power under the Clean Water Act.