Hoeven Calls for Senate to Stand Up for Farmers and Ranchers and Vote on Amendment to Eliminate Proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule
WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, Senator John Hoeven called on the Senate to stand up for farmers and ranchers and vote on an amendment he is cosponsoring that prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) from finalizing their proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule. The proposed regulation would significantly expand federal authority to regulate small wetlands, creeks, stock ponds and ditches under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Hoeven said the amendment, which is sponsored by Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming and supported by 29 senators, should be brought up for a vote during the current debate on the Sportsmen’s bill.
“We have the lowest cost, highest quality food supply in the world,” said Hoeven. “Now the EPA, by its own volition is going to go out and make it harder, more expensive and more difficult for our farmers and ranchers to do what they do better than anyone in the world. Farmers and ranchers have to work through uncertain weather and markets to ensure we have food security, and they don’t need the burden of additional regulations and litigation. They certainly don’t need that burden under the auspices that EPA says, oh somehow this is going to help you. Well, that’s not the case.”
Hoeven said the amendment, which is sponsored by Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming and cosponsored by 29 senators, should be brought up for a vote during the current debate on the Sportsmen’s bill.
Last week, Hoeven pressed U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to work with him to eliminate the proposed rule and to address widespread concern among farmers and ranchers about the regulation.
On March 25, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule that includes broad new definitions of the scope of “waters of the United States” that fall under the jurisdiction of the CWA. The proposed definition could apply to a countless number of small wetlands, creeks, stock ponds, and ditches that are typically regulated at a state level. This expansion of the EPA’s regulatory authority would have significant economic impacts for property owners who would likely be hit with new federal permits, compliance costs and threats of significant fines.
Hoeven is cosponsoring the Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014, legislation that would prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing its March 2014 proposed rule, which would significantly expand federal authority under the CWA. The senator has also led the effort in the Senate Appropriations Committee to include language in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill to block the EPA and Corps from implementing the onerous new rule in Fiscal Year 2015.
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