U.S. House passes legislation prohibiting implementation of proposed “Water of the United States” rule

The United States House of Representatives has passed the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014 (H.R. 5078), legislation authored by Representative Steve Southerland (R – FL) that would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing the proposed rule or guidance document related to the definition of waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) summary of the legislation is as follows:

Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014 – Prohibits the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from:

  • developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying, administering, or enforcing the proposed rule entitled, “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act,” issued on April 21, 2014, or the proposed guidance entitled, “Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected By the Clean Water Act,” dated February 17, 2012; or
  • using the proposed rule or proposed guidance, any successor document, or any substantially similar proposed rule or guidance as the basis for any rulemaking or decision regarding the scope or enforcement of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act).

Requires the Army Corps and the EPA to withdraw the interpretive rule entitled, “Notice of Availability Regarding the Exemption from Permitting Under Section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act to Certain Agricultural Conservation Practices,” issued on April 21, 2014.

Requires the Army Corps and the EPA to consult with relevant state and local officials to develop recommendations for a regulatory proposal that would identify the scope of waters covered under the Clean Water Act and the scope of waters not covered.

To see how a particular member of the House of Representatives voted, access the roll call at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2014/roll489.xml

Companion legislation entitled the Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014 (S. 2496) is awaiting action in the United States Senate  but has yet to receive a hearing.

For additional information regarding this issue, please contact Dave Ladd with RDL & Associates at daveladd66@gmail.com

 

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