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U.S. House Votes to Block EPA's Waters of the U.S. Rule

Sep 9, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation cosponsored by Congressman Kevin Cramer to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers from moving forward with its “Waters of the U.S.” rule, which would drastically expand the agency’s authority over bodies of water including small ponds, creeks, ditches, and other occasionally wet areas, including those found on private property.

The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014 would prohibit the EPA and the Corps from further developing or administering the proposed rule in any form, and reaffirm the authority of state and local officials to determine how non-jurisdictional waters should be regulated.

“What we did today in passing this bill was a decisive and quick response to the dramatic overreach by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by stopping this rule in its tracks,” said Cramer. “The bill requires consultation with state and local governments. That is, after all, the constitutional breakdown of jurisdiction over the waters. It’s not all federal jurisdiction. In fact, the vast majority of jurisdiction, as per our constitution, is to states.”

Two weeks ago, Cramer announced the release of a highly detailed map of North Dakota developed in secret by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), likely for the purpose of expanding its regulation of water features. Investigations by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, of which Cramer is a member, revealed the EPA has assembled detailed maps of all waters and wetlands in every state with no intention of releasing them to the public.

“The lack of transparency is what brings us to this position of distrust in the first place. Their goal is to have jurisdiction over every puddle on every farm. This is a breach of private property rights, it is a breach of states’ rights, and it won’t be tolerated,” Cramer added.

Congressman Cramer has consistently opposed the Waters of the U.S. rule and has called on the EPA to change course on numerous occasions, citing its devastating economic impacts, substantial regulatory costs, bureaucratic barriers to economic growth, and severely negative impacts on farms, small businesses, commercial development, road construction and energy production, as well as the fact waters are to be governed by states and not the federal government. Cramer has also been outspoken about the EPA’s recent attempt to garnish the wages of private citizens to assess its regulatory fees. Two weeks after he wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, a swell of public outcry from citizens of North Dakota as well as other states forced the EPA to rescind its proposed wage garnishment plans.