Congressman Gibbs Joins House and Senate Leaders in Opposing EPA’s Proposed Waters Rule

November 13, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH) joined other House and Senate committee Republican leaders in objecting to a proposed rule from the administration that would remove any limits to federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act, and create undue burdens on homeowners, small businesses, and local communities.

The lawmakers provided comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) proposed rule regarding the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, and urged the agencies to withdraw the proposed rule.

“Once again, I join my colleagues in opposing the proposed ‘Waters of the United States’ rule. The Agencies should withdraw the proposed rule and act on guidelines set in the House-passed ‘Water of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act.’ Efforts to expand the scope of law and the federal government’s regulatory power under the Clean Water Act have repeatedly failed to gain any traction in recent Congresses.   If implemented, this rule would have serious economic and regulatory implications for individuals and businesses around the country.  Instead, the EPA must partner with the States to regulate our nation’s water within their jurisdiction as the Clean Water Act intended.”

Bipartisan legislation to prevent the same proposed rule from moving forward passed the House 262 to 152 in September.  The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act (H.R. 5078) upholds the federal-state partnership to regulate the Nation’s waters and prohibits the Administration from unilaterally changing the scope of the Clean Water Act and threatening to open many new waters and private property to federal regulation, including ditches, man-made ponds, floodplains, riparian areas, and seasonally-wet areas.

In the letter, the Republican Congressmen and Senators  highlight how the Constitution’s guarantee of federalism is not upheld in this proposed rule and “will force landowners throughout the country to live with the unending prospect that their homes, farms, or communities could be subject to ruinous Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations and litigation.”

The letter concludes, “EPA and the Corps’ decision to engage in a ‘waters of the United States’ rulemaking presented the agencies with a significant opportunity to honor the limited authority granted to the executive branch in the Clean Water Act….  The agencies have failed to take advantage of this opportunity.”

**Please see the attachment to read the full letter.