Senators say federal agencyâ??s proposal burdens Idaho farmers and private landowners
Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined a coalition of twenty-eight Senators to introduce legislation blocking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from finalizing its March 2014 proposed rule revising the definition of "waters of the United States" under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). If made final, the move by the EPA would significantly expand federal authority, allowing the agency to regulate nearly every stream, ditch, pond, puddle and other local water bodies, both on state and local land, as well as private property. Both Crapo and Risch have been strongly opposed to the rule, cautioning it will threaten the nation's economy by placing onerous burdens on farming operations and small businesses, as well as encroach on private landowner's ability to utilize their property.
"Under this rule, EPA is attempting to regulate virtually every body of water in the country no matter the size," said Crapo. "This blatant overreach by the Administration sets a dangerous precedent. Not only does this unwarranted attempt to exert authority over water outside the scope of the CWA represent an assault on private property rights and state sovereignty, it puts our economy and family farms in jeopardy."
"What part of 'navigable waters' does the Obama administration not understand? The Supreme Court understood it pretty clearly," said Risch. "This administration and its political appointees believe that every known drop of water landing on every square inch of this great country should be under the control of the federal government. Litigious environmental groups are influencing this administration to expand the Clean Water Act jurisdictional authority far beyond its original intent. This executive rule will create a flood of lawsuits on landowners, private businesses and municipalities that will be out of control."
Specifically, the legislation prohibits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing the proposed "Definition of the 'Waters of the United States' Under the Clean Water Act."