Press Releases

Jaime Herrera Beutler Supports Legislation to Protect Individuals, Farms and Small Businesses from EPA’S Unnecessary Expansion of the Waters of the U.S. Regulation

Bipartisan legislation rejects EPA’s attempt to regulate ditches, man-made ponds, seasonally wet areas on private property

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Washington, DC, September 9, 2014 | comments
Jaime Herrera Beutler voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the “Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act.”
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Jaime Herrera Beutler voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the “Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act.” This legislation would reject the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ new definition of “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act.

The new definition of “waters of the U.S.” would change 42 years of Clean Water Act policy to allow the EPA to regulate every ditch, man-made pond, and seasonally wet area on public and private property as "navigable waters." Specifically, the new definition would expand federal authority to require private land owners, farmers, businesses, cities, and counties to obtain new permits for use of these broadly defined wet areas. A Supreme Court case from 2006 cited the cost of a Clean Water Act permit at $270,000 that, on average, takes 788 days to obtain. Penalties for violation of the Clean Water Act can be up to $37,500 per day.

“Too often DC-based government bureaucrats depart from common sense in favor of a ‘government knows best’ attempt at regulating a business or property owner, and this is one of the most egregious examples,” said Jaime. “If left in place, the EPA’s complete redefinition of ‘navigable waters’ could force virtually all land owners with any water on their land to apply and pay for a clean water permit. With that red tape comes thousands of dollars in costs to people who are already struggling to make ends meet. What could result is harm to small business owners, higher food prices and a significant restriction on what people can do with their own land.

“This is a very serious issue that I’ve heard about from folks across Southwest Washington, from those who own land to those who are currently constructing a new building or making other improvements,” Jaime continued. “Adding every body of water throughout the country to the Army Corps’ jurisdiction would bring the agency’s already sluggish permit system to a grinding halt.”
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