The U.S. House of Representatives today approved bipartisan legislation that requires the withdrawal of the Administration’s flawed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) proposed rule that would give the federal government unprecedented authority to regulate virtually any place that water flows in the United States, and in some cases, broader authority over land use decisions.
The proposed rule, which could have substantial economic impacts on states, local governments, farmers, businesses, and private citizens, was developed by the Administration in a manner that undermines the integrity of both the rulemaking process and the long-standing federal-state partnership in regulating the Nation’s waters.
The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 1732), introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH), passed by a vote of 261 to 155.
“This onerous rule will impact the Nation’s economy, threaten jobs, lead to costly litigation, and restrict the rights of landowners, states and local governments to make decisions about their lands,” said Shuster. “State and local governments and the regulated community all have voiced significant concerns about the EPA’s failure to properly consult with them or consider the impacts in the development of this proposal. Today’s bill simply stops this rulemaking, and requires the EPA to go back and do it right – consult with state and local governments and other stakeholders in developing a new regulation. We can continue to protect our waters without unreasonable and burdensome regulations on American businesses, farmers, and families.”
“The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 will protect homeowners, builders, ranchers, farmers and small business owners from the harmful Waters of the United States rule,” said Gibbs. “The EPA chose to bypass states and local governments while drafting this rule and the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act will force the EPA to go back to the drawing board. This bill gives the agencies, their state partners, and stakeholders the chance to work together and develop a rule that does what was intended – provide clarity for the regulated community.”
In 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed the 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 rule would significantly broaden the federal government’s power to regulate waters and adjacent lands. The agencies’ actions in developing the rule threatens 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 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.
For more details about the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, click the image below:
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