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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Senate Western Caucus Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new guidance regarding the definition of waters of the United States:
“Americans are sick and tired of Washington overreaching into every single area of their lives, their homes and their businesses. The President’s EPA continues to enact an agenda based on control instead of common sense.
“Today, Washington announced another unprecedented power grab through guidance that overturns the narrow definition of federal waters of the United States. Instead of simply monitoring oceans and rivers, it signifies EPA’s intention to regulate even the smallest bodies of water – including mudflats, sand flats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows and natural ponds.
“This decision is excessive and unnecessary. I have repeatedly stated that there is no reason for Washington to seize control of all the water in Wyoming or any other state. Responsible landowners and state officials – not Washington bureaucrats – should have authority over these areas.
“I will fight against this new guidance and any future Washington takeovers as the regulatory process unfolds.”
During the last Congress, both the House and Senate failed to enact the Clean Water Restoration Act introduced by former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and former Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN).
The month after the November 2010 elections, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drafted a document marked “Deliberative Process: Confidential DRAFT from December 2010.”
The draft guidance, which was announced today officially, would replace 2008 Bush administration guidance that defined the scope of the Clean Water Act more narrowly as a result of two Supreme Court decisions.
This guidance trumps states’ rights by usurping the authority of state and local governments to make local land and water use decisions. Enormous resources will be needed to expand the Clean Water Act federal regulatory program, leading to longer permitting delays. Increased delays in securing permits will impede a host of economic activities in our states. Commercial and residential real estate development, agriculture, electric transmission, transportation, energy development and mining will all be effected and thousands of jobs will be lost.
Senator Barrasso criticized this backdoor guidance at a recent March 31st hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Senator Barrasso led a bicameral Western delegation letter to then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid in opposition to the Clean Water Restoration Act on December 8th, 2009.
Senator Barrasso offered a series of amendments to the Clean Water Restoration Act during a June 18th, 2009 markup on the bill.
You Tube links to those amendment votes: