Elected lawmakers – the people voters send to Washington to actually debate and pass laws – are staging a revolt against the Environmental Protection Agency's latest attempt to expand its regulatory authority through the Clean Water Act.
More than 260 representatives and senators now oppose EPA's proposed expansion of the CWA. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., have introduced a bill to block EPA from issuing the rule, which would expand EPA's authority over wetlands, creeks, possibly stock ponds and ditches.
"I want to make sure that the expansion of regulatory jurisdiction over 'Waters of the United States' is shelved for good!" says Roberts.
More than 230 representatives also have filed a letter with EPA and the U.S. Corps of Engineers requesting the agencies withdraw the new proposed definition of water rule.
More good news
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., currently Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and formerly Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, along with Congressmen Frank Lucas, Collin Peterson, Bill Shuster – Chairman, House Committee on Transportation, Joe Barton, Todd Rokita, and others too numerous to name -- are challenging EPA's action in the U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit. They filed a brief as 39 bipartisan members of Congress opposing EPA's effort to expand its jurisdiction over water.
The Congressional brief is worth reviewing. It says "Agencies should not be allowed to seize virtually limitless power by…an expansive statutory interpretation that is not expressly prohibited." (I have described these interpretations in previous columns) The brief then engages in a technical separation-of-powers argument, which I will explain later.
The brief from Rep. Goodlatte and his colleagues is important from another aspect. On page 4 of the brief, there is an excellent discussion describing a Virginia Senate Finance Committee report claiming EPA's new rule will cost the Commonwealth "…$13.6 billion to $15.7 billion."
The brief also claims that Maryland was forced to develop a Watershed Implementation Plan which will require "…$14.40 billion to reach the nutrient levels mandated by the [EPA] TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Loads)."
There is another study cited in the footnote which claims EPA's rule will cost Pennsylvania over $15 billion.
It is good to see a brief which actually explains in real world terms what EPA is proposing to do to agriculture.
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