Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Barrasso (R-WY), David Vitter (R-LA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mike Johanns (R-NE), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have introduced legislation – the “Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014” – to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing its proposed “Water of the U.S.” rule which would allow the EPA to take over “all private and state water” in the U.S.
The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers in March of 2014 released their proposed rule redefining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. According to the senators, the proposed rule would provide the EPA, the Corps and environmental groups with a “powerful tool to delay and prevent development and land-use activities” on property owned by homeowners, farms, small businesses and municipalities. The House agriculture committee subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry recently held a hearing on the proposal where a number of members in a bipartisan manner stated their strong concerns with the proposal and the expansion and overreach of the EPA’s jurisdiction.
A group of 40 agricultural organizations wrote the subcommittee stating their concerns and asked that the proposed rule be withdrawn. Those signing the letter included the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and National Pork Producers Council.