Bill pushing back on WOTUS rule now moves to full Senate
Jun 10 2015
WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today joined his colleagues on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee to approve legislation that would pushback on the Obama Administration’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) power-grab.
The Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which Boozman is cosponsoring, was passed by the EPW Committee and now awaits debate by the full Senate.
The bill reins in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overreach and gives the agency direction to write a rule that protects our waters without eroding the rights of landowners.
“WOTUS is an attack on property rights of all landowners that EPA touts as environmental protection. It is nothing more than overly burdensome and costly regulatory power-grab by Washington,” Boozman said. “Our bill protects Americans from the EPA’s gross overreach and requires the agency to write a rule that protects our waters while preserving the rights of landowners.”
The Federal Water Quality Protection Act directs the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to revise the WOTUS rule to exclude waters that have never been controlled by the federal government like isolated ponds, ditches and agriculture water that lack enough flow to carry pollutants to navigable waters.
“EPA wants Americans to think that the only way we can protect our environment is by giving Washington wide-ranging power to control our water and air. The reality is Arkansans know better than those in our nation’s capital. We take great pride in being called the Natural State, work hard at the state and local level to maintain that and we don’t need bureaucrats in Washington to protect our resources for us,” Boozman said.
The bill requires the agencies to revise its current proposal and adhere to the following principles that the Waters of the US should include:
- Traditional navigable waters and interstate waters.
- Streams identified on maps at the scale used by EPA to identify potential sources of drinking water.
- Streams with enough flow to carry pollutants to a navigable water, based on a quantifiable and statistically valid measure of flow for that geographic area, and
- Wetlands situated next to a water of the United States that protect water quality by preventing the movement of pollutants to navigable water.
The legislation details what Waters of the U.S. should not include
- Water that is located below the surface of the land, including soil water and groundwater.
- Water that is not located within a body of water (e.g., river, stream, lake, pond, wetland), including channels that have no bed, bank or ordinary high water mark or surface hydrologic connection to traditional navigable waters.
- Isolated ponds.
- Stormwater and floodwater management systems.
- Wastewater management systems.
- Municipal and industrial water supply management systems.
- Agricultural water management systems.
- Streams that do not have enough flow to carry pollutants to navigable waters.
- Prior converted cropland.
- Areas lawfully filled pursuant to a permit or areas exempt from permitting.
Last month, the EPA finalized its WOTUS rule giving the agency much greater power to oversee the land use decisions of homeowners, small businesses and family farms throughout the country. The Clean Water Act, passed by Congress nearly 40 years ago, provides for water quality protection through partnerships between the federal government and the states, but it does not provide unlimited power to the federal government.