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Chairman Roberts Helps Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Block EPA’s ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Proposed Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today with a bipartisan group of senators introduced The Federal Water Quality Protection Act to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ‘Waters of the United States’ proposed rule.

“I’m proud to lead agriculture’s charge in pushing back against EPA’s egregious federal overreach. Complying with the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule is consistently the number one concern I hear from farmers and ranchers across the country,” said Roberts. “The last thing rural America needs to worry about is more burdensome and costly federal oversight down on the farm. Our farmers and ranchers’ job is to take care of the land and natural resources. The federal government doesn’t have to tell them to do that.”

The bill, introduced by U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) members John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., with Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., will be referred to the EPW Committee.

The Federal Water Quality Protection Act requires EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the current proposed rule, which has received considerable criticism from a variety of industries – including agriculture – and restart the full rulemaking process to develop a new rule in consultation with stakeholders, state partners and regulated entities. 

For audio, and to view a short video on the bill, click here.

Rural America: Senator Pat Roberts has your back. Today, Senator Roberts introduced legislation to block EPA's over-regulation, known as the 'Waters of the U.S.' rule. Check out this video below.

Posted by U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on Thursday, April 30, 2015

The legislation reaffirms the original intent of the Clean Water Act and provides clear direction with regard to the types of water bodies that would not fall under federal regulation under the Clean Water Act such as groundwater, natural and manmade isolated ponds, storm water and flood water management systems, constructed water systems, prior converted cropland, municipal and industrial water supply management systems, and puddles.

The legislation orders EPA and the Corps to review and respond to the more than 1 million comments on the original rule, conduct an economic analysis, review unfunded mandates, as well as other measures to be reported to Congress.

The Agriculture Committee recently held a hearing on the WOTUS rule, which included legal interpretations, agency officials and state partners responsible for the administration and enforcement, and key stakeholders who will be forced to navigate the Clean Water Act permitting process and bear the unforeseen costs associated with this overregulation.

Original cosponsors of the proposed legislation include Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V., and Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

The legislation has the support of nearly 90 agriculture groups.

Similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio.