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Congressman Rob Bishop

Representing the 1st District of Utah

House Passes Bill to Curb Federal Regulatory Overreach on Waters in States and Communities

September 9, 2014
Press Release
WASHINGTON— Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) today joined in support of the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act [H.R. 5078], which would prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers from expanding their regulatory authority to nearly every body of water in America, including ponds on farms, ditches, and watersheds.

For more than forty years, the regulation of water quality throughout the United States has been achieved through collaboration between states and the federal government. This partnership was established under the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA) and limited the extent of the federal government's oversight authority to "navigable waterways." The defined responsibility of states and federal agencies resulted from the fact that not all waters need federal oversight and subsequently, that states should have the primary responsibility for the waters within their boundaries.

"The EPA is aggressively working to expand its regulatory and rulemaking authority. Decisions about water quality, use, and management are best made in coordination with officials at the local and state levels, and should not be decided solely by federal bureaucrats. The notion that water quality in our states would somehow be in jeopardy without the overreach of the EPA is bogus and unsubstantiated.  States, many of which are leaders on  research regarding water quality, are equally capable of ensuring that waters upstream and downstream have proper oversight," said Rob Bishop.

The Supreme Court has twice reaffirmed the defined roles of states and federal agencies. The current presidential administration, however, has sought to "clarify the scope" of the federal government's oversight jurisdiction under the CWA, which would ultimately expand its regulatory and rulemaking authority. The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act would limit federal agencies from having the ability to unilaterally expand their power over waters in the United States.