House and Senate Utilize Congressional Review Act to Block EPA Water Grab

For Immediate Release

Date: January 13, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed S.J.RES.22, a resolution of disapproval to vacate the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule submitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by a vote of 253-166:

“If the president was serious about fulfilling his promise made at last night’s State of the Union of  ensuring that ‘workers and start-ups and small businesses [have] more of a voice, not less’…and that ‘the rules should work for them’, he would immediately put the brakes on WOTUS. Small business owners, farmers, Congress, Attorney Generals from 31 different states and the American people have made it abundantly clear that we can’t afford more economic hurdles and thieveries of precious water supplies from an unaccountable federal government.

“The truth is the president will never yield in his effort to seize more control of our nation’s water resources. This is a blatant water grab orchestrated by Washington bureaucrats without any input from the very farmers and landowners who are impacted the most. WOTUS is a dream killer for future generations and local economies. I am committed to ensuring it never sees the light of day and have been leading the charge in the House to oppose this unconstitutional overreach.”

 

Background

On November 4, 2015, S.J.RES.22 passed the Senate by a vote of 53-44. WOTUS was slated to go into effect August 28, 2015. Fortunately, the Sixth Circuit has issued a nationwide stay and temporarily blocked implementation of this new rule.

The 1996 Congressional Review Act (Public Law 104-121) allows rules to be overturned through a joint resolution of disapproval and provides for expedited consideration in the Senate.

On March 25, 2014, the EPA and the Corps released a proposed rule that would assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over nearly all areas with even the slightest of connections to water resources, including man-made conveyances.

WOTUS directly contradicts two Supreme Court decisions. The Heartland Instittue has stated, “In reality, the language of the EPA rule is so vague this ‘clarification’ could grant Washington, DC jurisdiction over any body of water anywhere. It was to apply to any water or wetland deemed to have a ‘significant nexus’ to any navigable waterway, with the significant nexus, as described by a Wall Street Journal editorial, so widely interpreted as to include ‘any creek, pond or prairie pothole’ and ‘any land within a 100-year floodplain and 1,500 feet of the high water mark or, alternatively, within the 100-year floodplain and 4,000 feet of waters within their claimed jurisdiction.’ Essentially, the WOTUS rule would put EPA in charge of every piece of land occasionally containing any amount of concentrated water, practically down to the puddle level.’”

On May 1, 2014, Congressman Gosar and 230 of his colleagues sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the EPA, and John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army, urging them to withdraw the proposed rule. The full text of that letter can be found HERE.

On January 28, 2015, Congressman Gosar introduced H.R. 594, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act. This legislation has the support of 185 bipartisan cosponsors. Click HERE to read more about the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act. 

On May 12, 2015, the House passed H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, by a vote of 261-155. This critical legislation requires the EPA and Corps of Engineers to formally withdraw the agencies’ proposed rule that would redefine WOTUS and any subsequent final rule. Congressman Gosar joined the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Bill Shuster in introducing this bill. Click HERE to read more. 

Congressman Gosar has also inserted funding riders into appropriations bills, blocked a democrat amendment that tried to strip one of his WOTUS riders and voted at least five different times for legislation that has passed the House to block WOTUS

In July 2015, he berated EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and submitted revelatory evidence into the Congressional Record from senior Army Corps of Engineer employees which expressed serious legal and scientific deficiencies with the final draft of the WOTUS rule. 

More than 200 organizations and local municipalities have publicly declared their opposition to the proposed WOTUS rule.

On numerous occasions, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy broke the law by lying to Congress in order to try and impose WOUTS by regulatory fiat. On September 11, 2015, Congressman Gosar introduced H.RES.417 to initiate impeachment proceedings against Administrator McCarthy for these crimes. You can learn more about his efforts to remove Administrator McCarthy from office by clicking HERE.

###