Republican senators introduce Waters of the U.S. bill

Published online: Jul 03, 2014
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Thirty Republican senators last week introduced a bill to stop the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from proceeding with their proposed rule known as the Waters of the United States.

The legislation, called the Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014, is being led by Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, both Republicans of Wyoming.

On March 25, 2014, EPA and the Corps released their proposed rule redefining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. 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

“After already calling on the EPA and Army Corps to withdraw the proposed rule, I want to make sure that the expansion of regulatory jurisdiction over ‘Waters of the United States’ is shelved for good,” said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., a co-sponsor of the bill. “This straightforward legislation prohibits the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the secretary of the Army from finalizing the rule or trying a similar regulation in the future.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation officially endorsed the bill, Roberts noted.

“There are some very real examples of overreach by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers that show how ridiculous this regulation is,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, another co-sponsor.

“It only serves to muddy the water of a dry creek,” Grassley said.

“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. This is way beyond the law. Passing legislation is an uphill battle, but this usurpation of power has to be stopped.”