Press Releases

Bill to Halt Flawed Waters of the United States Rule to be Introduced in House

Washington, DC, April 13, 2015 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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Bipartisan legislation to be introduced in the U.S. House today will require the withdrawal of the Administration’s flawed proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule – a rule that undermines the integrity of the rulemaking process and the long-standing federal-state partnership in regulating the Nation’s waters.

The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 will be introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH), and other Members of Congress.  The Committee is scheduled to consider the bill at a 10:00 a.m. markup this Wednesday.  Click here to read the legislation.

“The Administration’s proposed rule and its regulatory fallout will have real economic costs and consequences for states, local governments, farmers, builders, other stakeholders, and private citizens,” said Shuster.  “Instead of legitimately consulting these parties, the Administration flouted the rulemaking process, rushed this rule forward, and is now close to putting it into practice.  This bill will stop this flawed rule, ensure the proper regulatory process is followed, and continue the balanced approach to regulating the Nation’s waters that has worked well for decades.”

“This proposed rule is a clear expansion of the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act,” said Gibbs.  “The Clean Water Act was originally intended as a cooperative partnership between the states and the federal government, with states responsible for the elimination, prevention, and oversight of water pollution.  This successful partnership has provided monumental improvements in water quality throughout the Nation since its 1972 enactment.  The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act will ensure the state and federal partnership remains strong and allows for a transparent rulemaking process in the future.”

In 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed the proposal without first 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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