Hoeven: New Congress Will Work to Prevent Implementation of EPA's Waters of the U.S. Rule

BISMARCK, N.D. – At a Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce congressional panel today, Senator John Hoeven said that a top priority for the new congress will be to stop unnecessary regulatory burdens, like the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Waters of the U.S. rule, from hampering job creation in North Dakota and across the nation.

“Overly burdensome regulations are hampering our economy and hurting our businesses,” said Hoeven. “A prime example is the EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule, which would heavily burden farms, ranches, small businesses, energy production and commercial development across North Dakota. This rule would expand the EPA’s regulatory authority to everything from small wetlands to ditches and it needs to be stopped. We’re working to do it now and will make it a high priority in the new Congress.”

Hoeven is working to rescind the Waters of the U.S. rule, which expands the EPA’s authority to regulate waters under the Clean Water Act. The senator is leading the effort in the Senate Appropriations Committee to include language in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill that will prevent the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the new rule in Fiscal Year 2015, by blocking any funding for implementing the proposed rule.

A second approach would be to rescind the rule. Hoeven is cosponsoring and pushing to pass the Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014, legislation that would prevent the EPA and the Corps from finalizing the regulation.

Hoeven also cited the Small Business Administration’s recommendation that the EPA and Corps withdraw the proposed rule as further proof that the regulation would harm job creators. In October, the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, an independent voice for small businesses, concluded the EPA and Corps had used incorrect data in framing the rule, which they said impose costs directly on small businesses and have a significant economic impact on them.

On March 25, 2014, the EPA and the Corps 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 Clean Water Act. 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 face new federal permits, compliance costs and threats of fines.