Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson has cosponsored two new bills to address widespread concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new proposed rule expanding its jurisdiction over water throughout the U.S. H.R. 5071, the Agriculture Conservation Flexibility Act, would address some of the most controversial provisions in the proposed rule, withdrawing the Interpretive Rule proposed in March that has resulted in great uncertainty and concern across the agriculture sector. H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, would support the existing partnership between states and the federal government by preventing EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from redefining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.
“These two bills respond to some of the most troubling aspects of the EPA’s efforts to expand its jurisdiction,” said Simpson. “The EPA initially claimed that its new rule would provide clarity and flexibility for American agriculture, but my initial concerns that this would not be the case have proven true. Farmers across Idaho have expressed to me their serious concern about how the EPA may decide to interpret this rule in the future, leading to even less certainty than they have now.
“Moreover,” he added, “These bills recognize that the EPA’s proposed rule undoes many existing and successful partnerships for cleaning up and maintaining our waterways, whether those are partnerships between farmers, ranchers, and conservationists or local, state, and federal governments. I think it’s an arrogant assumption on the part of the EPA to say that they alone should have such authority over every drop of water across the country.”
H.R. 5071 and H.R. 5078 are currently under committee consideration in the House of Representatives.