House passes WOTUS resolution
Washington, D.C. – On Jan. 13, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) spoke in favor of Senate Joint Resolution 22, an action that would codify the bodies’ disapproval of the Water of the United States rule. The joint resolution, which would nullify the rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, ultimately passed.
When speaking in favor of the bill on the floor of the House, Conaway said, “This rule and the process in which EPA developed it ignored stakeholders, ignored states and, as reports have shown, even ignored concerns from the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency that was supposed to be co-developing the rule.”
Conaway continued that the House and U.S. citizens repeatedly asked the Obama Administration to start their process from the beginning, working with stakeholders, to achieve the goals and intent of the Clean Water Act.
“We all want clean water, and we can and should work together to achieve it,” he added.
“Unfortunately, all of these requests fell on deaf ears, and the Administration, in what has become an all-too-common pattern, moved forward to ram this rule through with little regard to the comments or concerns of Americans,” Conaway said.
He noted that the final rule ignores both the spirit and the intent of the Clean Water Act and expanded the jurisdiction of the agency to “over essentially any body of water, such as a farm pond or even a ditch that is dry for most of the year.”
“America’s farmers and ranchers deserve a government that will review and consider their thoughts, not a government that refuses to engage stakeholders and hands down orders from on high,” Conaway asserted. “The process of developing this rule was flawed from the get go, and the final product was right on par with an Administration that wants to impose its authoritarian will on every inch of this great land.”
Conaway also cited that the House voted “overwhelmingly in favor” of H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, to express their concern, on transparency and stakeholder engagement in rulemaking.
After the measure passed, Conaway added, “Today’s passage of this resolution is a critical step toward stopping what some believe to be the largest federal land grab in history. From the beginning, the process of developing this rule was flawed by EPA ignoring input from stakeholders, and even other agencies including the Army Corps of Engineers. America’s farmers and ranchers deserve to have a government that will review and consider their thoughts.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.