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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SIMPSON. I thank the chairman for his recognition. I don't have the letter to read, but listen, the only argument that's being made here that makes any sense is we have got to bring clarity to this issue. We have got to bring clarity to the confusion of this issue.

Well, I will tell you that a hanging is clarity, but it's not necessarily the right option. That's essentially what we're doing here. We're giving control of all these waters that have traditionally been in the control of the States to the Federal Government. And I will tell you, we will have an opportunity to debate this same issue again on the Interior bill dealing with the EPA. This deals with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The fact is is that you don't need this to clarify this, the policies proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers. You can clarify it by legislatively defining what ``navigable'' means. If the Supreme Court has a problem trying to decide what ``navigable'' means, then let's address that so we know what we intend by that.

The argument is made repeatedly by some of those that have supported this amendment, whether you are from Virginia or Maryland, and I will tell you, if you want in Virginia or Maryland or Washington or Michigan, the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA to control every drop of water that falls on your State, I'll help you do it. Let's write legislation to do that so that you guys can have the clarity of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. But in western States, we actually protect those waters by State law. What you are trying to do is exempt State law or override State law and have the Federal Government take control of these. That's just flat wrong.

If you don't think Virginia protects its headwaters enough, then put a bill in to allow the EPA and the Army Corps to control every drop of water that falls in the State of Virginia. You don't need this to bring clarity to this, and the States are doing a good job that do State regulations of headwaters.


Mr. SIMPSON. If there are waters that the State is not regulating and they will eventually flow into navigable waters, and the only way to control the pollution in those navigable waters--the State is going to ultimately start controlling those headwaters if they're not doing their jobs.

You seem to think that States have no ability to control the State waters that are under State control. They do have the ability to control those State waters, and they do a good job of it in most States. I'm not sure about Virginia. I haven't followed Virginia.


Mr. SIMPSON. The point is that they become navigable waters at some point. If they are being polluted by waters that are controlled by the States, eventually the State is going to have to say, You know what, we have got to get control of this; otherwise, we're going to have problems downstream.


Mr. SIMPSON. You seem to think that the only way to address this problem is to have a Federal bureaucracy. You know what, we could bring clarity to all of our problems by just eliminating the States. Why have States? Why not have everything under Federal control? That makes sense, because everything goes from State to State eventually. It makes no sense to me.

This does not bring clarity to the situation and it does not help in the regulation of our Clean Water Act. This does not make the waters of the United States cleaner. All it does is give more authority to the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA.

If you want to bring charity, then bring a bill down here to define what navigable means. And you can do that. As I said, a hanging is clarity--not necessarily the best outcome.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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