House Passes Gosar Amendment Prohibiting EPA’s Attempt to Expand Clean Water Act

Jul 13, 2016 Issues: Government Oversight and Regulatory Reform, Energy, Public Lands and Water

For Immediate Release

Date: July 13, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after the House passed his amendment prohibiting the use of funds to carry out the draft EPA-USGS Technical Report entitled ‘‘Protecting Aquatic Life from Effects of Hydrologic Alteration”, unlawful guidance that aims to expand the scope of the Clean Water Act, and successfully attached the amendment to the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017:

“The EPA’s never-ending obsession to extort private water rights from the American people is bordering on insanity. The management of water rights from all natural streams, lakes and other collections is an authority clearly enshrined in state constitutions and compacts across the West – legal protections explicitly designed to prevent infringement by the federal government.

“Sadly, for water users across the country, these federal water-grabs have been par for the course under the Obama Administration. EPA bureaucrats have proven that they will stop at nothing to push an economically disastrous agenda at the expense of science, the Rule of Law and basic common sense. I’m pleased to see the House join me in taking a stand against this rogue agency. Congress must block this unlawful guidance that aims to expand the scope of the Clean Water Act and federal control over waters currently under the jurisdiction of states.”


The full text of the amendment can be found HERE.

A March 1, 2016, “Scientific Investigations Report” from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) argues that the Clean Water Act (CWA) gives the EPA the authority to regulate not just the quality of the Waters of the U.S. but also the quantity, or amount, of water in the nation’s river and water systems.

Under the expanded scope of authority, the EPA suggests in their report the federal government could require an individual private water owner or local municipality to obtain a federal permit anytime they alter the amount of water available in streams or other water systems.

In their statement endorsing the Gosar amendment, Americans for Tax Reform stated, “American citizens cannot afford more economic hurdles and the commandeering of state powers over precious water supplies from an overzealous, unaccountable federal government. States, local governments, and private water rights holders should not be subjected to such costly and burdensome federal overreach.”

In their comments on the draft report, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated, “The Chamber is concerned that the agencies will use these arguments to further expand federal jurisdiction over land and water features without proper Congressional authority.”

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) echoed that sentiment stating, “NACD believes that the report attempts to expand the [Clean Water Act] beyond Congress’ original intent.”

The American Petroleum Institute stated, “The Draft Report constitutes Rulemaking in the guise of guidance…The Draft Report is vague and ambiguous… [And] Owing to these concerns EPA and USGS should withdraw the draft report and not finalize it.”

The Arizona Farm Bureau Federation stated, “Not only is this federal overreach, but it becomes a bureaucratic and logistical nightmare for individuals and businesses...”

The Mohave Livestock Association summed up the issue best when they stated, “The last thing our producers need is another layer of costly and time consuming permitting. The states understand water use in their respective ecological territories better than any centralized bureaucracy from Washington, DC.”

Cosponsors of Congressman Gosar’s amendment include Representatives Trent Franks, Steve Pearce and Ryan Zinke.

Endorsements of the amendment include American Farm Bureau Federation, Americans for Limited Government, American Public Power Association, Americans for Tax Reform, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Family Farm Alliance, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Water Resources Association, Services Group of America, Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona, Arizona Association of Conservation Districts, Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Liberty, Arizona Mining Association, Arizona Pork Council, Arizona Rock Products Association, AZ BASS Nation, Bass Federation-AZ, Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, Colorado River Energy Distributors Association, Concerned Citizens for America Arizona Chapter, Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, Irrigation & Electrical Districts' Association of Arizona, Gila County Cattle Growers’ Association, Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce, the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association, the New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc., the New Mexico Federal Lands Council, Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Valley Partnership, Veritas Research, Yavapai County Cattlegrowers’ Association, Yuma County Chamber of Commerce, Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen, La Paz County Supervisor King Clapperton, Yavapai County Supervisor Chip Davis, taxpayer Rory Van Poucke and Shake, Rattle & Troll Radio.