The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) sent letters to Congress today urging them to adamantly oppose H.R. 5088, the so called "America's Commitment to Clean Water Act." This Act would grant the federal government unprecedented regulatory authority over all privately-owned waters, including stock ponds, ditches and drainage areas, regardless of whether or not they have any environmental significance.

"If this bill becomes law, every ditch, stock tank and puddle on a rancher's land would be at the mercy of the federal government," said Dave Scott, TSCRA president and rancher from Richmond, Texas. "Federal jurisdiction would be brought all the way to the ranch, creating more buearucratic government red tape, as well as expensive and unnecessary engineering and possibly even litigation.

"And while the author of the bill claims it will not regulate groundwater, a groundwater exclusion is not included in the bill, leaving it wide open for federal regulation," Scott continued.

H.R. 5088 would achieve unprecedented expansion of federal authority by removing the word "navigable" from the definition of "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The new definition would grant the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) virtually unlimited regulatory control over all wet areas within a state.

The proposed legislation would require cattle producers to manage around puddles in the middle of pastures, drainage areas, road ditches and more.

Additionally, the legislation would take away private property rights of landowners.

TSCRA continues to oppose very similar legislation in the Senate which passed out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works last June. The bill, the Clean Water Restoration Act, has yet to receive a full vote in the Senate.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is asking the House to stop this bill should it come up for a full House vote.

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is a 133-year-old trade organization. As the largest and oldest livestock association in Texas, TSCRA represents more than 15,000 beef cattle producers, ranching families and businesses who manage approximately 4 million head of cattle on 51.5 million acres of range and pasture land, primarily in Texas and Oklahoma. TSCRA provides law enforcement and livestock inspection services, legislative and regulatory advocacy, industry news and information, insurance services and educational opportunities for its members and the industry.