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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GIBBS. I rise today in strong opposition to this amendment.

My friends on the other side of the aisle are absolutely right in that, currently, there is an assault going on with regard to the Clean Water Act; but it is not by us, rather by this administration. We are not trying to roll back the Clean Water Act but, instead, allow it to work as it was written.

This administration is currently trying to circumvent congressional intent and expand the scope of the law beyond its drafted words. This guidance would substantially change the Agency's policy on waters subject to the jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, undermine the regulatory community's rights and obligations under the Clean Water Act, and erode the Federal-State partnership that has long existed between the States and the Federal Government in implementing the Clean Water Act.

By developing this guidance, the Agencies have ignored calls from State agencies and environmental groups, among others, to proceed through the normal rulemaking procedures; and they have avoided consulting with the States, which are supposed to be the agencies partnering in and implementing the Clean Water Act. The agencies cannot circumvent the Administrative Procedure Act through this guidance or change the scope and meaning of the Clean Water Act or the statute's implementing regulations.

If the administration and the Members on the other side of the aisle seek statutory changes in the Clean Water Act, then a proposal must be submitted here in Congress for legislative action, and we should have a healthy debate. Until that time, we must stop this current process.

Also, I would like to add to the gentleman's earlier comments in that I think the intent of the Clean Water Act passed constitutional muster because of the word ``navigable'' in the Interstate Commerce Clause. This guidance put out essentially circumvents the word ``navigable,'' so I have to raise a question of the constitutionality of this type of amendment.

I urge strong opposition to this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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