House Committee Passes Bill Restricting EPA Clean Water Rule
May 7, 2015
With U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule now moving into the final stages of the interagency review process before finalization, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has approved legislation, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, by a vote of 36-22. The measure, supported by AFS, would send EPA’s proposed rule redefining federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act back to the drawing board. The full House of Representatives was expected to vote on the measure in late April.
Specifically, the bill would stop the proposed rule (or final rule, if it’s finalized before bill passage) and force EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to re-consult with state and local governments, as well as industry, before issuing a new proposed rule.
AFS is deeply concerned about the rulemaking jointly proposed by EPA and the Corps to vastly expand the amount of “waters”—and adjacent land areas—that are under federal control. This proposed rule would make routine operations at facilities subject to federal permitting and lengthy environmental reviews for the first time. For example, the rule would redefine industrial ditches as “tributaries.” Work in stormwater retention ponds and onsite impoundments also will trigger dredge and fill and point source discharge permits.
Under EPA’s proposed rule, work in stormwater retention ponds could trigger new permits.