Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) spoke in support of H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Act of 2015. The bill, which would force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to stop moving forward with the proposed “Waters of the United States” rule, passed the House by a vote of 261-155.
Chairman Conaway’s floor statement:
I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015. I cannot stress enough the importance of this legislation to stop the Obama Administration’s “Waters of the United States” proposed rule and its damaging impacts on our country.
This rule, in its current form, is a massive overreach of EPA’s authority and will impact nearly every farmer and rancher in America. It gives EPA the ability to regulate essentially any body of water they want, including farm ponds and even ditches that are dry for most of the year. The EPA’s defense of this rule is that it provides clarity to producers regarding what is and is not regulated, but in reality, this rule will allow nearly every body of water in the United States to be controlled by federal regulators.
What makes the rule ambiguous is the claim made by EPA and the Army Corps that the rule is not all encompassing, yet the agencies also declared they will use their best professional judgment on when they will regulate a water and when they will not. These vague statements hold little comfort for farmers and ranchers who will face steep civil fines for any violation.
For these reasons, I strongly support this legislation that forces EPA and the Corps to stop moving forward with the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule and do as they should have from the beginning – work with states and local stakeholders to develop a new and proper set of recommendations. It is imperative that the Administration listen to rural America.