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Simpson Condemns Aggressive Federal Water Grab

Joins majority of Congress in calling for withdrawal of EPA’s new Clean Water Act rule

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Washington, May 6, 2014 | comments
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joined a majority of Congress in sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expressing concerns with and strong opposition to the proposed rule re-defining the power of the federal government under the Clean Water Act.  The letter raises a number of serious flaws with the rule and asks the agencies to withdraw it.  

The letter states that the rule “would assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over nearly all areas with any hydrologic connection to downstream navigable waters, including man-made conveyances such as ditches…Although your agencies have maintained that the rule is narrow and clarifies CWA jurisdiction, it in fact aggressively expands federal authority under the CWA while bypassing Congress and creating unnecessary ambiguity.  Moreover, the rule is based on incomplete scientific and economic analyses.”

The letter continues, “The rule is flawed in a number of ways.  The most problematic of these flaws concerns the significant expansion of areas defined as ‘waters of the U.S.’ by effectively removing the word ‘navigable’ from the definition of the CWA…this rule would place features such as ditches, ephemeral drainages, ponds (natural or man-made), prairie potholes, seeps, flood plains, and other occasionally or seasonally wet areas under federal control.”

“This rule has been built on an incomplete scientific study and a flawed economic analysis,” concludes the letter.  “We therefore ask you to formally return this rule to your agencies.”

The bipartisan letter was signed by 231 Members of Congress, including a number of Chairmen and Ranking Members of congressional committees of jurisdiction over the issue.  Simpson chairs the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development Appropriations, which oversees the budget of the Corps, and is the vice-chairman of the subcommittee that writes EPA’s budget.

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