Following a House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee mark-up Wednesday over the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Waters of the United States rule, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-1) expressed his concerns with EPA’s attempts to broaden the scope of the Clean Water Act.
“This issue is yet another example of the Executive Branch overstepping its authority and necessitates further discussion,” Crawford said. “There is significant ambiguity about how this proposed rule is worded, as it will likely result in the regulation of bodies of water that currently are not, such as rice fields and agriculture water retention ponds.”
Crawford, a member of the T&I Committee, expressed gratitude to Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (PA-9) for bringing H.R. 5078, The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014, before the full committee as well as a determination to keep ambiguity within the rule from harming Arkansas’ First District.
“I thank Chairman Shuster for his leadership to address the widespread concern for the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. proposed rule and for bringing H.R. 5078 to the full Committee earlier today,” he said. “The EPA states that its goal for the new guidance is to better define which waters are under its jurisdiction, but I believe it is using the cover of ‘clarification’ to mask an overreach of power.”
Crawford recently brought up these concerns which he said represents the most troubling aspects of the proposed rule and the use of an ambiguous term to “further clarify” regulated waters. According to the rule, waters that “have a significant nexus” to already regulated waters are subject to the EPA’s authority. Crawford said further clarification of a “significant nexus” is needed to prevent further overreach by the EPA.
“I am concerned that this terribly ambiguous term opens the door for the EPA to arbitrarily decide how it wants to define ‘significant nexus’ based on its own subjective analysis. This regulation is only one in a series of regulations put forth by the EPA that would place even greater burdens on my constituents and the constituents of every Member of Congress.”
Crawford said the work of lawmakers is largely to prevent unelected bureaucrats from expanding the federal government’s presence in the lives of individuals and job creators.
“As lawmakers, we often ask ourselves, ‘How many times are we going to have to write letters to agency heads or markup legislation meant to protect the American people from an overzealous bureaucracy?’ My answer is simple – as many times as we have to in order to protect the American people.”