Gibbs, Inhofe Lead Amicus Brief to Block EPA’s Water Power Grab

November 8, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Joined by 21 Senators and 67 House Members, Congressman Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court case over the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule developed and finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers last year.

Gibbs, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, and Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, submitted the brief in support of 31 states and multiple industry groups.  They argue that EPA’s rule expands federal jurisdiction over land and water beyond the restraints set by the Supreme Court in SWANCC v U.S. Army Corps, that Congress has the sole right to make law, and that the agencies involved have failed in their responsibility to “faithfully” execute the laws set by Congress.

After filing the amicus brief, Congressman Gibbs released the following statement:

“I want to thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and both chambers who joined us on this amicus brief.  The Clean Water Act was written as a partnership with the states. This WOTUS Rule has the potential to affect hardworking farmers and ranchers and erode that federal-state partnership.

“We have led Congressional disapproval of the WOTUS rule, we have seen this lawsuit brought by thirty-one states, and WOTUS has been opposed by property rights advocates. Despite all of this, the Obama Administration continues to defend the flawed rule, even after the revelation that EPA broke the law in promoting it.  EPA’s WOTUS rule is an excessive expansion of federal authority with no return on water quality improvements.  It is time for the EPA to begin treating the states as partners rather than adversaries.”

Joining the group signing the brief is House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA). “The Administration and an overzealous EPA steamrolled the rulemaking process in order to bring this preconceived and predetermined rule forward without regard to numerous, valid concerns from states, local authorities, and private citizens,” said Shuster.  “This expansive new definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ is an unlawful attempt to federally regulate both land and water that Congress deliberately left to the authority of states.  I commend Chairman Gibbs for his leadership on this issue and in filing this amicus brief, and I strongly urge the Court to bring an end to this terribly flawed rule.”

The amicus brief can be found here.