A press release from Congressman Randy Hultgren:
Hultgren Slams Final EPA Waters of the U.S. Rule
Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) today criticized a final rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers which extends jurisdiction over the waters of the United States to
- flood plains and
- even ornamental landscape features
Rep. Hultgen has cosponsored H.R. 594, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, which stops federal agencies like EPA from improperly using the Clean Water Act (CWA) to expand jurisdiction over land that is currently under the control of
- states and farmers
- construction businesses and
- other private owners
On May 12, Rep. Hultgren supported House passage of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732), which requires the EPA to withdraw the rule.
“As expected, EPA’s final rule takes control over even the smallest ditches and puddles, endangering the property rights of everyone from farmers to construction businesses. Ignoring public comments strongly against the rule, EPA has once again seen fit to run roughshod over the rights of Americans,” said Rep. Hultgren.
“As we found out a Science Committee hearing, this ‘clarifying’ rule relies on murky science at best.
“We should be supporting and promoting the work of our farmers and businesses, not allowing the dangerously powerful EPA to expand its power.
“The administration has failed to develop strategies to improve our environment through sound scientific data.
“Clearly we need action by the full Congress to demonstrate to the administration the need to provide stability and confidence to Americans.”
EPA’s connectivity report, which claimed that all bodies of water, no matter the size, are connected [emphasis added] “is in direct contradiction of the Supreme Court decision which clearly upholds the policy that isolated wetlands could not be considered ‘waters of the United States’ for purposes under the CWA,” reads a letter Rep. Hultgren sent to House leadership requesting they stop any funding for proposed change in definition.
This move opens up farms and other private property to EPA regulation and intrusion, such as farm ponds, storm drains, and other non-navigable water bodies.
“These regulatory changes will have wide ranging effects on everything from construction to agriculture,” the letter says.
During a previous Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing, Rep. Hultgren took EPA’s Deputy Administrator to task hearing for his wavering and opaque explanation of the Clean Water Rule and how it will affect Illinois 14th District constituents. The rule is meant to clarify jurisdiction but lacks any scientific justification, and the Deputy Administrator’s answer only further confused the issue.