WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 594, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, which garnered 114 bipartisan cosponsors in less than 48 hours. This bill would prevent the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and other federal agencies from improperly expanding the Clean Water Act (CWA) and seizing jurisdiction over water that is currently under control of states and private ownership:
“The Obama Administration has made it clear that it has no intention of following the law or respecting the legislative process when developing federal rules and regulations. This president has repeatedly chosen to ignore the will of the American people and govern by executive fiat to implement his far left ideology. This includes the latest attempt by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to obtain control over practically all standing water throughout the U.S. by unilaterally expanding the Clean Water Act.
“This blatant federal overreach would assert federal jurisdiction over nearly all areas with any hydrologic connection to downstream waters, including man-made constructions such as ditches, pipes and farmland ponds. Contrary to claims made by the EPA and the Corps, this would directly contradict prior U.S. Supreme Court decisions, which imposed limits on the extent of federal CWA authority.
“The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act rejects this overreach and requires relevant federal agencies to go back to the drawing board and consult with states and other local officials to formulate a proposal that will then be submitted to Congress for approval. Only Congress has the authority to change or redefine the scope of the CWA, not bureaucrats in Washington. This fact has been confirmed several times by the Supreme Court. Americans can't afford more economic hurdles and thievery of precious water supplies from an unaccountable federal government operating in hyper mode.”
The complete text of the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act can be found HERE.
On March 25, 2014, the EPA and the Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule that would assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over nearly all areas with even the slightest of connections to water resources, including man-made conveyances.
Congressman Gosar’s bill prohibits the EPA and Corps from “developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying, administering, or enforcing” the proposed rule, the agencies’ interpretive rule, and any successor document, or any substantially similar proposed rule or guidance.
According to a recent report by economist and University of California-Berkley faculty member Dr. David Sundling, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Water Act rule is rife with errors and lacks transparency. Dr. Sundling concluded that the miscalculations in the EPA’s analysis are so extensive that it should be rendered useless for determining the true costs of this proposed rule. His report underscores the need for EPA to withdraw the rule and complete a comprehensive and transparent economic review that complies with federal law.
On May 1, 2014, Rep. Gosar and 230 of his colleagues sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the EPA, and John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army, urging them to withdraw the proposed rule. The full text of that letter can be found HERE.
On June 2, 2014, Congressman Gosar hosted a joint field hearing on EPA’s proposed rule in Phoenix, Arizona that was attended by four of his Congressional colleagues and 9 Arizona witnesses. Stefanie Smallhouse, testifying on behalf of the of the Arizona Farm Bureau said, “The newly proposed EPA rule for the Waters of the U.S. would be devastating to my family’s farming operation, as well as hundreds of others in agriculture in Arizona…This proposed rule is an economic disaster, and a dream killer for my kids. There is no way a family farm such as ours would be able to withstand the hefty fines which would be enforced as a result of this rule.”
Bob Lynch, testifying on behalf of the Irrigation and Electrical Districts’ Association of Arizona said, “The EPA and the Corps have driven a truck through Justice Kennedy’s opinion in Rapanos. According to them, everything is relevant, everything affects everything, and everything is jurisdictional… How many permits will the Central Arizona Project need? Will it have to treat the water before it stores it in Lake Pleasant? Before it releases it back into its system to deliver to cities, towns, industries and agriculture? And who will be able to afford it? Certainly not agriculture…This may be the biggest jurisdictional overreach that I have witnessed in 50 years of law practice. I hate to say it but the only people who come out ahead on this proposed rule will be lawyers.” More information about that joint field hearing can be found HERE.
Public comments on the proposed rule were accepted until November 2014. The agencies expect to issue a final rule in April 2015, making the Gosar bill both timely and necessary.
The list of 114 cosponsors that supported the Gosar bill and joined him for introduction include: Justin Amash, Mark Amodei, Brad Ashford, Brian Babin, Andy Barr, Dan Benishek, Marsha Blackburn, Rod Blum, Mike Bost, Charles Boustany, Jim Bridenstine, Mo Brooks, Larry Bucshon, Michael Burgess, Bradley Byrne, Doug Collins, Paul Cook, Kevin Cramer, Rick Crawford, Ander Crenshaw, Jeff Denham, Charles Dent, Jeff Duncan, Tom Emmer, Blake Farenthold, John Fleming, Bill Flores, Randy Forbes, Trent Franks, Chris Gibson, Louie Gohmert, Bob Goodlatte, Sam Graves, Morgan Griffith, Glenn Grothman, Crescent Hardy, Gregg Harper, Richard Hanna, Jody Hice, French Hill, Richard Hudson,Tim Huelskamp, Bill Huizenga, Duncan Hunter, Will Hurd, Robert Hurt, Sam Johnson, David Jolly, David Joyce, Alcee Hastings, Mike Kelly, Adam Kinzinger, Robert Latta, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Billy Long, Frank Lucas, Cynthia Lummis, Kenny Marchant, Tom McClintock, David McKinley, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Mark Meadows, Dan Newhouse, Randy Neugebauer, Richard Nugent, Devin Nunes, Pete Olson, Steve Palazzo, Steve Pearce, Scott Perry, Collin Peterson, Robert Pittenger, Ted Poe, Mike Pompeo, Phil Roe, Hal Rogers, Todd Rokita, Tom Rooney, Paul Ryan, Matt Salmon, Aaron Schock, Jim Sensenbrenner, John Shimkus, Mike Simpson, Jason Smith, Chris Stewart, Steve Stivers, Marlin Stutzman, Mac Thornberry, Patrick Tiberi, Scott Tipton, Fred Upton, David Valadao, Tim Walberg, Greg Walden, Randy Weber, Dan Webster, Brad Wenstrup, Bruce Westerman, Lynn Westmoreland, Ed Whitfield, Roger Williams, Steve Womack, Ted Yoho, Don Young, Ryan Zinke, Martha McSally, Walter Jones, Ron DeSantis, Keith Rothfus, Tom Rice, Jason Chaffetz, Glenn Thompson and Tim Murphy.