Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the agency’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which redefines “navigable waterway” to potentially put any water—flowing or standing, on private lands or public—under federal jurisdiction.
This 297-page document is harmful to farmers, energy producers, and countless other Americans whose private property rights support their way of life. In fact, the rule is such an egregious expansion of federal power that a bipartisan majority in the House and Senate are standing in opposition to the EPA’s WOTUS rule, including every single House Republican. Many Democrats agree with Republicans that this rule is harmful to the public, including several senators:
- Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV): “The bottom line is that no federal agency should go around Congress to control what has not been legislated, especially when its actions will harm economic growth.”
- Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND): “It’s frustrating that after so much time, the EPA today decided to finalize this rule instead of conducting more consultations and releasing a revised rule as our legislation would require.”
Senator Joe Donnelley (D-IN) joined Senators Heitkamp and Manchin in opposition to the EPA’s latest power grab, along with dozens of House Democrats, including:
- Representative Collin Peterson (MN-07): “I am disappointed but not surprised that the EPA has decided to move forward with a rule that would increase confusion and red tape. Farmers, ranchers, local communities and businesses all expressed concern with the negative impacts of this rule. Despite that, EPA either wasn’t willing to listen or simply just does not get it.”’
- Representative Cedric Richmond (LA-02): “The EPA plays an important role, but I do think, like any government agency, sometimes their focus is either laser-focus or blinders-on. We don’t have that luxury in Louisiana…. I don’t get to wear those same blinders. We have to balance economic development, quality of life, and environmental protection.”
But despite this bipartisan opposition to the EPA’s expansive new water rule, the Administration and the agency continue to circumvent Congress and subvert the will of the American people.
The House will continue to make the priorities of the American people the center of our agenda. Earlier this month, the House passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 1732), with a strong bipartisan vote of 261 to 155. This legislation prevents the Administration from implementing this rule and sends the EPA back to the drawing board so it can start listening to concerns of Americans across the country and stop this gross executive overreach.