Protects private property and water rights from EPA encroachment
Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is sponsoring new legislation to stop federal agency interference into the use of private property and water rights. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) attempt to greatly increase Clean Water Act jurisdiction, often referred to as the "Waters of the U.S." rulemaking, has drawn heavy criticism from many Idahoans and Americans, and has been the topic of hearings on Capitol Hill, organized in part by Crapo, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The bipartisan bill instructs agencies seeking to enforce the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule to rescind this rulemaking and restart the regulatory process with specific instructions to exclude all waters not covered by the existing federal Clean Water Act. As currently drafted, the proposed rule would subject every small pond, seasonal pool or stream, even dry creeks to federal oversight and potentially require property owners to obtain federal permits to make changes on private property. The legislation does not seek changes to the Clean Water Act; in fact, it guides agencies like the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on how to properly enforce it.
"The bipartisan backing for this bill demonstrates the backlash from this federal overreach," Crapo said. "We have heard from many Idahoans who see this effort for what it is: an attempt by federal agencies to gain control over water which has always been under the control of states through water rights laws and codes involving private property. This legislation protects property owners and puts the government back in its place when it comes to water law."