09.18.15

Senators Isakson, Perdue Introduce Resolution to Reverse Obama Administration’s Harmful EPA Regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA), along with 45 Senate co-sponsors, introduced a joint resolution disapproving President Obama’s ill-conceived rule known as “Waters of the United States” that allows the federal government to regulate nearly all private and state waters in the United States, including thousands of streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds and ditches.

The Senate resolution would overturn the rule and send a message to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers that they failed to address concerns raised by farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses in Georgia and across the country.

“This is yet another step in our fight against the administration’s ‘Waters of the United States’ rule, which allows federal bureaucrats to assert control over thousands of streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds and ditches throughout the country,” said Senator Isakson. “This latest overreach by the EPA will provide the administration, as well as environmental groups, with a powerful tool to delay and prevent development and land use activities on property owned by homeowners, farms, small businesses and municipalities. This rule harms not only landowners, but our entire agriculture industry in Georgia.”

“Georgia farmers and landowners are outraged that Washington is trying to regulate how they maintain streams, ditches, and runoff water on their land,” said Senator Perdue, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “The EPA’s ‘Waters of the United States’ rule is a blatant government overreach that is causing confusion, uncertainty, and unnecessary red tape. For example, in Gwinnett County, nearly 3,000 miles of roads, 1,500 miles of streams, and 1,400 miles of drainage ditches would be subject to this new regulation from Washington. It is time to put an end to this harmful rule that threatens the livelihood of Georgia’s farmers, agribusinesses, and rural communities.”

You can read the full resolution and view a list of original co-sponsors here.

Senators Isakson and Perdue are also co-sponsors of S.1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would require the secretary of the Army and the administrator of the EPA to propose a regulation revising the definition of the term “Waters of the United States,” to define clear limits and to take into account an economic analysis of the rule. This legislation was approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and is now pending before the full U.S. Senate.

Background:

On March 25, 2014, EPA and the Corps released their proposed rule redefining “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The term “Waters of the United States” is the Clean Water Act’s threshold provision that determines whether the law’s permitting and regulatory requirements apply to a particular body of water.

The proposed rule, which was finalized on September 17, 2015, will provide EPA and the Corps, as well as environmental groups, with a powerful tool to delay and prevent development and land use activities on property owned by homeowners, farms, small businesses and municipalities. Federal bureaucrats—and not state and local authorities—could assert control over thousands of rivers, streams, lakes and marshes throughout the country.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Sam Olens asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to enter a nationwide order prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing its “Waters of the United States” rule. Seventeen other state attorneys general also joined the request. In addition, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit this week accepted a request by Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, along with 11 other states, to hear an emergency appeal of the District Court ruling against their lawsuit to overturn the “Waters of the United States” rule.