By CITIZEN STAFF
Rep. Mike Simpson is co-sponsoring a bill that would limit expansion of Army Corps of Engineers and EPA regulation of state waterways.
H.R. 3377, the “Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2013,” would curb the EPA’s efforts to expand its authority under the Clean Water Act by clearly defining just what are “navigable waters,” information released by Simpson’s office said.
He chairs the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the budget for the Corps of Engineers, and sits on the subcommittee that oversees the EPA’s budget.
“This is an issue that hits at the very core of our way of life in Idaho,” Simpson said. “Water is life, and to let the EPA begin to regulate all waters of the United States would have a devastating impact on rural towns, farmers and local governments.”
He said he is “deeply concerned” that the EPA has moved “so aggressively” to claim jurisdiction over state waters, leading to his co-sponsorship of the bill.
“H.R. 3377 provides common sense and needed clarification on this issue so farmers and ranchers can move forward without fear of the EPA usurping their water rights,” Simpson said.
The term “navigable waters” has long been the term which limits federal intrusion in regards to Clean Water Act authority. Recent disputes over the definition have resulted in efforts by the Obama Administration to amend the current version of the act by replacing the “navigable waters” term with the term “waters of the United States.”
Non-navigable waters are normally regulated by the states.
Simpson said removing this term out of the law would result in a “massive expansion of the federal government’s authority” by increasing the number of waters subject to federal water quality standards, Simpson said.
This story is sponsored by Franklin SWCD: Soil Health Workshop.
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