EPA Rule Would Encompass Essentially All Wet Areas, Undermine States’ Authority

WASHINGTON – January 14, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today voted to vacate a rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which would significantly expand the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act over virtually all waters and wet areas in the country. The rule also would undermine the role of the states as partners and co-regulators of the nation waters. The EPA’s new definition of federal waters would force property owners to prove that large mud puddles and ditches on their property should not be federally regulated. The bill, S.J. Res. 22, passed the House by a vote of 253-to-166. It has already been approved by the Senate and now heads to the president’s desk.

“For more than four decades, the Clean Water Act has worked as a strong partnership between the federal government and the states, and all this EPA rule does is undermine that relationship,” Barletta said. “Under the rule, local farmers, land owners, and employers would face higher legal fees, increased costs for doing business, and pressure to reduce hiring. Some say the EPA rule could run them out of business. What Obama’s EPA doesn’t understand is that sometimes, a mud puddle is just a mud puddle.”

The full title of the bill is S. J. Res. 22, “A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.”

Background Information

This resolution of disapproval vacates a rule published on June 29, 2015, by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers that would redefine “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).
This rule significantly expands the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA) over virtually all waters and wet areas in the country, and undermines the role of the states as partners and co-regulators of the nation’s waters.
At least 32 states, and representatives of the Nation’s large cities, smaller cities, counties, towns, townships, farmers, businesses, homebuilders, contractors, manufacturers, and others throughout the regulated community have stated objections or concerns with the rule.
Not all waters need to be subject to federal jurisdiction, and states should have the primary responsibility of regulating waters within their individual boundaries.
The Supreme Court has twice reaffirmed the federal-state regulatory partnership, ruling that there are limits to federal jurisdiction under the CWA, and furthermore that the Agencies had breached these limits.
S J Res 22, approved by the Senate on November 4, 2015 by a vote of 53-44, would vacate the rule and prohibit the issuance of any new rule substantially similar to the WOTUS rule published in June 2015.


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