Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after President Obama vetoed Senate Joint Resolution 22, bipartisan and bicameral legislation that blocked the new “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule seeking to be implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineering (Corps):
“The president is out of touch if he believes blocking WOTUS would ‘deny businesses and communities regulatory certainty and clarity’ when the truth is the exact opposite. Instead of doing his job and working with Congress, President Obama has once again decided to continue blatantly ignoring the will of the House, Senate, 29 states and the American people. He refuses to accept that his attempt to mandate a big government takeover of our nation’s water resources has been resoundingly rejected. Despite an illegal EPA propaganda campaign and repeated efforts to lie and mislead Congress about how certain provisions of this new regulation came to be, the Obama Administration still doesn’t understand that Americans refuse to be ruled by ideological executive overreach.”
“One of the hallmarks of our Constitutional Republic is the separation of powers among the branches of our government. When the president takes action by executive fiat in defiance of Congress, it is an affront to every bedrock principle of this country and opens the door to further expand our monolithic federal regime. Rural Americans, including farmers, ranchers, small businesses, other property owners and water users throughout the country, will continue to suffer because of the regulatory uncertainty caused by this executive overreach. The damage done by this administration’s irresponsible policies cannot end soon enough and I remain committed to doing everything I can to stop WOTUS, whether it is during this administration, or the next.”
The Senate voted 53-44 on Nov. 4, 2015, and the House voted 253-166 on Jan. 13, 2016, to pass S.J.RES.22. Congressman Gosar is a cosponsor of H.J.RES.59, the House version of this bill.
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 Congress to block new regulations during a 60-day review period through a joint resolution of disapproval. This expedited procedure only requires a simple majority in both Houses.
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 Institute 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.