U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released a report Tuesday detailing examples of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to expand their jurisdiction over U.S. waters beyond Congressional intent. The report is the result of the majority staff’s investigation into how EPA and the Corps are interpreting and implementing their authority under the Clean Water Act.
Although the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a nationwide stay on enforcement of EPA’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, the report demonstrates that EPA is, in fact, enforcing the rule and expanding its jurisdiction.
The following is a statement from National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling:
“When Congress passed the Clean Water Act, their intention was to create balanced, practical policies to protect America’s water resources. NCGA supports the goals of the Clean Water Act, and we remain committed to working with the EPA and other stakeholders to protect our water resources.
“But this report suggests that EPA is trying to expand its authority unlawfully and demonstrates that the Waters of the U.S. rule does not work. The rule does not provide farmers with the clarity and certainty they need.
“That’s why we are asking Congress to once again take up S. 1140, a bill that would allow the EPA, the Corps, farmers, and others to collaborate on a better WOTUS rule that makes sense for everyone. Let’s work together on a new rule that gives farmers the certainty they need while protecting America’s water resources.
“Last year, 11 Senators wrote to the EPA and the Corps that they reserved the right to support efforts to revise the WOTUS rule, should EPA enforcement erode traditional exemptions. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee report makes clear that the agencies are not following the law. NCGA calls on these 11 Senators to follow through with this pledge and support S. 1140 to rewrite WOTUS.”