Simpson Statement on Provision Protecting State Role over Non-Navigable Waters

February 15, 2011

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, today issued the following statement on language he has inserted into H.R. 1, the House Continuing Resolution, that prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using taxpayer dollars to implement laws or regulations expanding federal jurisdiction over state waters.  The provision would block any attempt by the Obama Administration to remove the term “navigable waters” from the definition of waters subject to EPA regulation under the Clean Water Act.  Currently non-navigable waters are regulated by the states.

“Most farmers and ranchers I talk to are scared to death about the possibility that the Environmental Protection Agency would be able to regulate their irrigation ditches, drainage ponds, and even groundwater, and I understand why,” said Simpson.  “In the West, water is critical to our way of life.  Allowing the federal government to claim jurisdiction over state waters would have a devastating impact on rural communities throughout our state and the food supply throughout our nation.  For that reason and others, I have moved to insert language in the House Continuing Resolution that will prevent any attempt by the EPA to claim additional jurisdiction over state waters and increase its already excessive authority over Western farmers, families, and businesses.”
The House Continuing Resolution funds the government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year and is under consideration by the House of Representatives this week.