More Water War

Posted on 05/20/15 in Uncategorized, No Comments

By David Sparks Ph.d

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has iust supported passage of legislation to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to take control of state waters.  H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, would require the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the controversial proposed rule expanding the definition of “waters of the United States” and develop a new rule after consultation with state and local governments and interested parties.  Simpson is a cosponsor of the bill, which passed the House by an overwhelming majority of 261-155.

“The EPA has received a record number of comments on this proposed rule, and during the 113th Congress over half of the members of House of Representatives registered their opposition to it.  This doesn’t surprise me one bit,” said Simpson.  “I have long known that expanding the reach of EPA regulations to ground water, farm ponds, and ditches would devastate rural Idaho, and I have been fighting against the EPA’s growing regulatory appetite for years.  Passage of this bill is an important step in the right direction.”

The controversial proposed rule would expand the definition of “waters of the United States” by removing the word “navigable.”  As a result, federal regulation under the Clean Water Act could apply to virtually all water, including ground water.  States currently regulate non-navigable water.

Simpson chairs the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and sits on the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversee the budgets of the Army Corps and the EPA, respectively.  He has authored numerous provisions to stop the flawed rule, including most recently a provision in the House Energy and Water Appropriations Act for FY16 that would prohibit any changes to federal jurisdiction under the Obama Administration’s “Waters of the United States” proposal.  H.R. 1732 is now before the U.S. Senate for consideration.