U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II hosted a press conference today from Florida's Capitol in Tallahassee to highlight his Regulatory Overreach Protection Act (H.R. 5078). Southerland was joined by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and other Florida stakeholders to highlight bipartisan efforts to stop the EPA and Army Corps from expanding its regulatory authority to almost any body of water in America -- including puddles, ditches, and farmland ponds.
"This bipartisan legislation provides a safeguard against Washington's brazen overreach into regulatory decisions best made by officials at the state and local levels," said Southerland. "Drawing that line in the sand preserves the federal-state partnership that has proven so successful in keeping our waterways clean for more than 40 years. And by fighting back against this D.C . power grab, we're restoring the certainty our farmers, manufacturers, transportation builders, and construction industries need to grow North and Northwest Florida's economy and create local jobs."
"The EPA's new rules represent the most significant expansion of federal government regulation on Florida in a quarter of a century," said Putnam. "I appreciate the leadership of Congressman Steve Southerland and his efforts to protect Florida businesses from the overreaching arm of the federal government."
Southerland and Putnam were joined by Brewster Bevis, Vice President of Associated Industries of Florida; Leticia Adams, Director of Infrastructure and Governance Policy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce; Janell Hendren, National Affairs Coordinator for the Florida Farm Bureau; and nearly a dozen other Florida industry stakeholder groups.
H.R. 5078 would:
* Prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps from implementing a proposed rule expanding federal regulatory authority over bodies of water currently managed by or jointly with the states
* Prohibit an additional "interpretive rule" that limits existing exemptions for agriculture conservation practices
* Require federal agencies to consult with state and local officials to identify which waters should be federally regulated and which should be left to the states