Chairman Conaway Supports Bill to Stop “Waters of the United States” Proposed Rule

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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.