Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 9, 2014
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. Chair, I appreciate the efforts of you and Ranking Member Rahall, and those efforts, how they have advanced this bipartisan piece of legislation. I would also like to thank Subcommittee Chairman Gibbs for giving this issue the urgent attention that it deserves.

For more than 40 years, America's waters have been made cleaner and safer by a balanced regulatory partnership between the States and the Federal Government. The basis for this partnership was a commonsense understanding that not all waters are subject to Federal jurisdiction and that the States must have the primary responsibility for regulating waters within their own boundaries.

But, now, decades of success have been put at risk under the guise of clarifying the scope of the Federal jurisdiction.

Under its proposed rules, Federal agencies like the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers would see their regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act drastically expanded, to the point of covering almost any body of water throughout America, from ditches to culverts to pipes to watersheds to farmland ponds.

This would have devastating consequences on virtually every major section of our economy, including farming, construction, manufacturing, transportation, and energy development.

That is why I have introduced H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014. Our bipartisan bill draws a line in the sand that preserves the critical Federal-State partnership in place today.

By preventing the EPA and the Corps of Engineers from finalizing or implementing the proposed rule, we are providing a safeguard against the Federal Government's overreach into regulatory decisions best made by officials at the State and local levels.

We are also requiring the EPA and the Corps to consult with the State and local officials to form a consensus proposal on the scope of the future water regulations under the Clean Water Act.

This bill is not anti-environment. It is not anti-clean water. Our bill preserves the partnership we have had in place for years to strengthen the health of our waterways and manage our water quality, and it does so in a way that maintains certainty for our job creators.


For these reasons, I urge all of my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill.