The U.S. House of Representatives moved to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency by passing bipartisan legislation that will require the EPA to withdraw their proposed rule that gives them unprecedented control over the Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act instructs the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to take into consideration the tens of thousands of comments received regarding the previous proposed rule before issuing another. The legislation also requires the EPA to consult with state and local officials, as well as other stakeholders on how to define what constitutes WOTUS.
"This EPA rule was just another example of executive overreach by this administration. There's no valid reason for the EPA to regulate the dry creek beds and ditches of ranchers and farmers in my district," said Hurd. "This legislation will protect the existing rights of land-owners and responsibilities of local governments, and bring transparency and accountability back into the process."
"Nearly a thousand comments from Texas farmers and ranchers urged changes to the rule during the regulatory comment process. Texas Farm Bureau's attempts to modify the rule were also ignored. The House action today requires the EPA and Corps to replace their current proposal with one that incorporates input from agriculture. It is a positive step forward," added Russell Boening, President of the Texas Farm Bureau.
The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers will have 30 days to withdraw the proposed rules once the bill becomes law. They will also be required to make all communications and documents available to the public, and submit a report detailing how they used comments offered by stakeholders and the public in the process of creating a new rule.