WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 13, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Following the House’s passage of H.R.1732, a bill to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing a rule defining the scope of waters subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA), U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce issued this statement:
“Increasing the federal government’s jurisdiction over U.S. waters will have a devastating impact on local economies, costing thousands of jobs across the country,” stated Pearce. “The proposed rule put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers will threaten the livelihoods of New Mexico’s farmers, ranchers, counties, local governments, and small business owners who are already over-regulated by the federal government. The legislation passed today by the House will block this dangerous rule and force the EPA to actively engage with American citizens and their state governments. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to quickly pass this legislation and send it to the President for his signature.”
In 2014, the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) proposal without properly consulting state and local authorities; without considering their rights, their responsibilities, their liabilities, and their budgets; and without realistically examining the potential economic and legal impacts on private citizens, farmers, and other stakeholders.
The proposed WOTUS rule would significantly broaden the federal government’s power to regulate waters and adjacent lands. The agencies’ actions in developing the rule threaten to undermine the federal-state regulatory partnership envisioned by Congress under the Clean Water Act. Since the rule’s proposal, many states and local governments have objected to this erosion of that partnership and their authority, and over one million public comments have been submitted.
The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732) requires the withdrawal of the rule, and requires the agencies to engage in outreach to stakeholders, including holding a federalism consultation with the states and local governments, consulting with and soliciting recommendations from other affected stakeholders, and carefully considering all public comments before putting forward a new proposed rule – as should have been done under the rulemaking process.