House Passes Bill to Rein in EPA Regulatory Overreach
U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05) announced today that the House of Representatives has passed H.R. 2018, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011. H.R. 2018 aims to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) one-size-fits-all regulatory overreach into federally-approved state water quality programs under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The bill reasserts the authority of each State to make decisions relating to the individual State’s water quality standards and brings needed regulatory certainty by restricting EPA’s ability to second-guess, micromanage, or delay a State’s permit decisions.
“Time and again, we’ve seen the bureaucrats at EPA overrun longstanding practices, overstep state authorities, and overreach without congressional authority, putting good-paying jobs in the Commonwealth in jeopardy. Whether a coal miner in Harlan County or a farmer in Pulaski County, there is near universal support for stopping EPA. This bill turns the tables and tells EPA to back off,” stated Rogers, an original co-sponsor to H.R. 2018. “I’m pleased to see the House put another shot across the bow of EPA, but our job in stopping this bureaucracy and Administrator Lisa Jackson has just begun.”
Congress intended the states and EPA to implement the Clean Water Act as a federal-state partnership where the states and EPA act as co-regulators, also called a federal-state cooperative system of regulation. The CWA established a system where states can receive EPA approval to implement water quality programs, and under the CWA, 47 states, including Kentucky, have been so authorized to issue and enforce permits. The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources has been upholding strong standards for water quality in the Commonwealth for years, and yet, on May 11, 2011, Kentucky Secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet, Len Peters, testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to express growing dismay at EPA’s take-over of state water programs.
H.R. 2018 restores the cooperative balance between the States and the federal government to ensure Kentucky’s natural resources and economic development are preserved. The bill passed with bi-partisan support and now will go to the Senate for consideration.
On a related front, the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday passed the FY12 Interior-EPA Appropriations Bill and included a number of provisions aimed at slowing or stopping EPA regulatory actions. This bill sends a strong message that the EPA’s “legislation by regulation” and commandeering of congressional authority is opposed by a strong bi-partisan contingent of lawmakers – the legislation caps EPA personnel and takes explicit action to address EPA’s wrong-headed greenhouse gas regulations, its de facto moratorium on mining permits in Appalachia, its attack on the cement and utility industries through unsolicited revisions to the Clean Air Act, and its obstruction of oil and gas permitting in the Outer Continental Shelf.
“The actions taken in this funding bill related to the EPA are for good purposes – to rein in excessive spending and stop job-killing regulations,” Rogers said. “While the original mission of EPA was to maintain the health of our citizens and prevent future environmental degradation, this agency has become the poster child for this Administration’s widespread regulatory overreach and is as a result putting mining, manufacturing, and farming families out of business at a time when some Kentucky counties have 18 percent unemployment. Americans across the country pinpoint harsh regulatory burdens as a major factor in slow job growth and discouraging job creation. We’ve got to put people back to work, not more dubious regulations on the books.”
For a complete list of accepted amendments to the legislation, visit the Appropriations Committee website at www.appropriations.house.gov. This legislation awaits further consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.