House passes bill that would block proposed EPA ‘Waters’ rule

congressThe U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 9 passed a bill that would effectively block the EPA’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule.

H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014, was introduced this summer by Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., and would prohibit the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing a rule that broadens the scope of the Clean Water Act.

Issued earlier this year, the proposed rule would give the EPA broad jurisdiction over dry land features and farming practices that historically has been relegated to individual states under the Clean Water Act. It is a source of considerable concern for the American Farm Bureau Federation and its state-level affiliates, who assert the proposal exposes U.S. farmers and ranchers to potential fines and penalties for ordinary farming activities.

“The House of Representatives today stood with farmers and ranchers and against the regulatory overreach of the EPA,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Passage of H.R. 5078 isn’t just a clear rejection of the overreach that lies in the EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule. Today’s action is an unmistakable signal that the tide is turning against those who ignore the constitutional separation of powers in the United States.“

Members of Virginia’s Congressional delegation who voted in favor of the bill were Reps. Randy J. Forbes, R-4th; Bob Goodlatte, R-6th; H. Morgan Griffith, R-9th; Robert Hurt, R-5th; E. Scott Rigell, R-2nd; Robert J. Wittman, R-1st; and Frank R. Wolf, R-10th. During floor debate, Hurt spoke in favor of H.R. 5078.

The AFBF has assembled articles and analysis relevant to the proposed rule atditchtherule.fb.org.