Chairman Mike Simpson Protects States’ Water Rights
Defeats amendment that would allow expansion of federal jurisdiction over water
Washington, April 30, 2015
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, has led a successful effort to defeat an amendment that would have stripped a section of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill prohibiting any changes to federal jurisdiction under the Obama Administration’s “Waters of the United States" proposal.
The proposed rule would expand the reach of the Clean Water Act by replacing the term “navigable waters” with the term “waters of the United States.” Non-navigable waters are currently regulated by the states. Striking this term means that the Act could be broadly interpreted to included everything within a state, including ground water.
Late last night Chairman Simpson fought the amendment on the House floor stating, “Many people believed that if the waters were not regulated under the Clean Water Act, they were unregulated. Not true. They are regulated by the states. And that’s how it should remain. . . While there may be a desire for clarity on federal jurisdiction, providing clarity does not trump the need to stay within the limits of the law. The proposed rule would expand federal jurisdiction far beyond what was ever intended by the Clean Water Act. The provision in the Energy and Water bill does not weaken the Clean Water Act; it stops the Administration from expanding federal jurisdiction. For those reasons I strongly oppose this amendment and encourage my colleagues to vote no.”
The amendment was offered by Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) last night, and failed on a voice vote. Consideration of the House Energy and Water Appropriations bill will continue today, with a vote on final passage expected on Friday, May 1st. To view a video of Chairman Simpson’s speech, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjLy2IR4RKc&feature=youtu.be