The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, totaling $32.03 billion.
Among its highlights is a rider to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing its controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, referred in the bill as ‚Äúexecutive overreach.‚Äù
As said Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said, ‚ÄúThis bill makes responsible recommendations on where to invest taxpayer funds for stewardship of federal lands.¬† It improves environmental policy by emphasizing infrastructure improvements over new EPA regulations.‚Äù
Funding is instead focused on returning the EPA to its core mission of environmental cleanup rather than writing and enforcing ‚Äúcostly rules that will harm the economy.‚Äù
¬†Similar efforts to block WOTUS failed in the Senate earlier this year.
In April, the Senate voted against an amendment, introduced by Sen. Jon Hoeven, R-N.D., that would have blocked the rule. Read more here.
The bottom line: Here is why WOTUS matters to you
WOTUS was issued under the Clean Water Act and intended to clarify the authority of EPA and the Corp of Engineers over various waters. The jurisdiction, based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, include ‚Äúnavigable‚Äù waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connect to navigable waters.
The rule was broadened to include upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams ‚Äì the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. Click here for more.
As the National Pork Producers Council President Dr. Ron Prestage said last year,¬†it‚Äôs a rule that is ‚Äúvague and fails to let regulated parties know when their conduct violates the law.‚Äù
‚ÄúWe all want clean water, but this regulation isn‚Äôt about clean water,‚Äù Prestage said in a statement. ‚ÄúThis massive land grab is about federal control of private property, growing the size of government and allowing activists to extort and micromanage all kinds of farming and business activities.‚Äù