WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. John Thune (RS.D.) in writing to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor. The senators urged Regan and Connor to put a hold on a proposed rule that would redefine the scope of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), i.e. waters protected by the Clean Water Act, in a way that would would pave the way for a federal land grab. .
The senators asked the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to put this proposed rule on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court completes its review of Sackett v EPAa case that may have major implications for the scope and enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
“The federal government should not promulgate rules for reasons of political expediency, but rather provide regulatory certainty to stakeholders within the limits of an agency’s respective statutory authority. Continuing to develop the rules at this time, despite ongoing litigation and the potentially influential ruling, will only add to the uncertainty within the regulated community,” wrote the senators.
“We are especially troubled that the proposed rule exceeds the regulatory authority granted to the EPA and USACE by the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule seeks to federalize waters in a land grab that arguably surpasses its 2015 predecessor, erroneously encompassing water features traditionally the sole purview of states,” explained the senators.
The senators pointed out that the rule would subject certain water features, with few exceptions, to cumbersome regulatory processes that would cost landowners significant time and money.
“Given the severe financial penalties that stakeholders could face for conducting standard agricultural practices or other land management practices under the proposed rule, family farmers and pastoralists are understandably alarmed by the attempt. land grabbing by the administration. These producers have a particularly vested interest in the responsible management of their water and land, and they depend on precise, consistent and sustainable regulations that can guide such activity,” say the senators.
All other Republican senators also signed the letter.
The letter is available here.