Congressman Randy Weber

Representing the 14th District of Texas
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Flickr icon
YouTube icon
RSS icon

My battle to halt EPA power grab

Feb 1, 2016
Editorial

It’s time to ditch the EPA’s regulation to redefine the “waters of the United States”. This is yet another action by the agency to expand the scope of its regulatory reach and is an unprecedented assault on our economy. Congress must rein in the EPA’s powers.

On June 29, the EPA announced a final rule that expanded the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act, historically only those defined as “navigable waters”. This regulation breeds confusion by poorly and broadly redefining “navigable waters” to potentially include dry tributaries, wetlands, or even any water within 4,000 feet of a tributary. EPA’s action would dramatically expand the scope of environmental laws and increases the risk of enforcement action against Texas farmers and ranchers, creating more red tape and uncertainty for landowners. Unilaterally expanding the definition of what “waters of the United States” are, will force more property owners to apply for permits under the Clean Water Act, which can be tremendously costly and can restrict the use of land.

In response to the final rule, last month the House passed a joint resolution with the Senate to disapprove and effectively block this regulation. Unfortunately, the President vetoed the joint resolution on January 20. Although this veto would allow the rule to move forward, lawsuits from 30 states and several organizations since its publication have been filed in an effort to block its implementation. Thankfully, on October 9, a federal appeals court blocked the rule’s implementation until certain judicial proceedings are resolved. The American people and their representatives have spoken, and it’s up to the judiciary to ultimately decide the fate of this burdensome regulation.

As if EPA bureaucrats didn’t get the message, the agency moved forward on a campaign of misinformation to confuse the public in 2014 and 2015. According to the Government Accountability Office, the EPA violated the law when it used social media to lobby the public in favor of the regulation. The agency even used taxpayer funds to link to environmental organizations that had a bias in favor of EPA’s action.

As Congress moves forward legislatively in 2016, my colleagues and I will continue to use every tool at our disposal to block unwise and costly regulations like this one. I do not support any bureaucratic overreach that negatively impacts our individual freedoms and property rights, and I will continue to work to ensure that the American people remain the rightful stewards of their land. It is time to put America first!