U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is criticizing the Administration for attempting to backdoor implement the Clean Water Restoration Act. Barrasso questioned Administration officials about this enormous Washington power grab during the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the FY 2012 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Budget.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks are below:
”During the last Congress, both the House and Senate failed to enact the Clean Water Restoration Act introduced by former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and former Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN).
“This was the bill that would grant the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers virtually unlimited regulatory control over all wet areas within a state.
“This included everything from ground water, to ditches, prairie potholes, and gutters.
“This bill trumped state’s rights by pre-empting state and local governments from making local land and water use decisions.
“As you may recall, the measure was highly controversial and is still strongly opposed by farmers, ranchers, small business owners certainly back in my home state and the home states of most of the members in this Committee.
“The bill never passed either the House of Representatives or the Senate.
“You would think that would be the end of it. But apparently the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps think differently.
“These agencies appear to be unilaterally asserting authority to enact the Clean Water Restoration Act without a vote from Congress.
“At the same time they would be reversing a direct decision by the United States Supreme Court that limited the federal government’s authority to regulate these waters.
“A recently leaked EPA document marked ‘Deliberative Process: Confidential DRAFT from December 2010’ states that the EPA and the Army Corps will identify the waters they believe should be under federal jurisdiction.
“The document also spells out how their unilateral decision to do this ‘supersedes previously issued guidance on the scope of ‘waters of the United States’ subject to Clean Water Act programs.’
“The leaked document goes further to say that the EPA and Army Corps ‘expect that the number of waters found to be subject to the Clean Water Act jurisdiction will increase significantly. . .’
“This draft guidance would grant the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers virtually unlimited regulatory control over all wet areas within a state.
“This guidance also trumps State’s rights by pre-empting state and local governments from making local land and water use decisions.
“Enormous resources will be needed to expand the Clean Water Act federal regulatory program, which could lead to longer permitting delays.
“Increased delays in securing permits will impede a host of economic activities across all fifty states.
“Commercial and residential real estate development, agriculture, electric transmission, transportation and mining will all be effected and thousands of jobs will be lost.
“Not surprisingly, I see that the Army Corps increased funding in its budget for its regulatory program this past year. The justification for the funding request is to ‘implement new field level initiatives for Clean Water Act jurisdictional determination and rulemaking and inflation.’
“The American people rejected the Clean Water Restoration Act in the last Congress.
“It was a bad idea then and it is still a bad idea now.
“It must be stopped, and Congress’s authority must be restored.”
Senator Barrasso is the only Republican member of both the Senate Energy and Natural Resources and Environment and Public Works Committees.
Source: U.S. Senator John Barrasso
Posted by Russell Nemetz