This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Bob Gibbs discusses the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) attempt to circumvent Congress and expand its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. In February, the agency issued final guidance regarding the identification of waters protected by the Clean Water Act, which would expand its regulatory reach to every ditch, pond, or puddle in the country. Rep. Gibbs joined a bipartisan group of colleagues and introduced H.R. 4965 to prohibit the EPA from implementing these pending regulations. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved the bill on June 7.
"The vitality and health of our nation's waters is important to every American. Most people believe like I do that government should provide common sense regulations to protect the environment. But, the EPA has abandoned common sense while pursuing regulations under the Clean Water Act.
"In February of this year, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers put forth a plan to dramatically increase their authorities under the Clean Water Act by radically expanding the scope of federal jurisdiction.
"These agencies are attempting to expand their regulatory jurisdiction from the current 'waters of the U.S.' to practically any land that already is -- or one day might be -- wet. In my view, regulating puddles isn't common sense.
"That's why I joined several of my colleagues to introduce H.R. 4965. This bipartisan legislation will preserve the existing rights and responsibilities under the Clean Water Act and prohibit the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing or implementing any guidance that would significantly broaden federal jurisdiction in this regard.
"If the administration wants to make changes to the Clean Water Act, they should do it the right way -- by seeking legislation from Congress, where we can have a healthy debate.
"Until that time, H.R. 4965 is a common sense solution for EPA's attempted power grab, and I'm proud to be a primary sponsor of the bill."
The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.