Energy & Environment

GOP vows to fight against Obama’s ‘power grab’ water rule

Congressional Republicans promised Wednesday to fight to overturn the Obama administration’s regulation asserting control over small waterways like streams and ponds.

Lawmakers in each chamber of Congress said they would pursue legislative outlets to overturn the rule that they characterized as a massive overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers.

{mosads}“The Obama administration’s new regulation implies that Washington bureaucrats know better than the people of our state,” Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) said in a statement.

“This rule is reckless and unwarranted, and I will work tirelessly to stop this expansion of federal control,” she said.

Fischer said the rule would extend federal control over Nebraska’s water resources and burden families with expensive permit requirements.

She is sponsoring a bill with Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) — both members of the Senate Environment and Public Works panel — that would overturn the rule and give the EPA instructions and a deadline for rewriting it.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was more forceful with his condemnation.

“The administration’s decree to unilaterally expand federal authority is a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs,” he said, noting that the majority of the House has joined various government leaders in fighting the rule.

“These leaders know firsthand that the rule is being shoved down the throats of hardworking people with no input, and places landowners, small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers on the road to a regulatory and economic hell,” Boehner said.

The House has voted multiple times to overturn the water rule.

The EPA made the waters of the United States rule final Wednesday, promising that it would both protect the small waterways that can bring pollution to bigger ones and provide certainty for businesses and others.

Foreseeing criticisms, EPA head Gina McCarthy highlighted what the rule does not cover, like agricultural, ditches, groundwater and more.

But that was not enough for the rule’s opponents.

In fact, Inhofe, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said the EPA made its rule broader than the proposal by allowing the government to regulate “regional water treasures.”

“The EPA has set themselves up to increase federal control over private lands, and I will not allow it,” Inhofe said in a statement.

“Our committee is planning for a markup on S. 1140 this summer, as we continue our work to halt EPA’s unprecedented land grab and refocus its job on protecting traditional navigable waters from pollution,” he said, referring to the bill to force the EPA to rewrite the regulation.

But the opponents may have a tough time getting any repeal of the rule past President Obama.

He released a statement Wednesday expressing strong support for the rule and saying it “will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, and it will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable.”

Tags Deb Fischer Environmental Protection Agency John Boehner Water pollution Waters of the United States
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