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VIDEO: Jaime Herrera Beutler Helps Send Bipartisan Protection Against EPA’S Expansion of Control Over Individuals’, Small Businesses’ and Farmers’ Property to the President’s Desk

Jaime, U.S. House strongly reject EPA attempt to regulate ditches, man-made ponds, seasonally wet areas on private property

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Washington, DC, January 13, 2016 | comments
Jaime Herrera Beutler voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives today to put on President Obama’s desk a bill ending the "Waters of the United States” rule.
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Jaime Herrera Beutler voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives today to put on President Obama’s desk a bill ending the "Waters of the United States” rule. This rule overturns 42 years of Clean Water Act protection and expands the power of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ to regulate water – no matter how little – on any land, public or private.

Click here for a video of Jaime’s comments during this week’s debate.

Jaime’s remarks on the U.S. House floor in opposition of the EPA’s new “Navigable Waters” definition:

For 20 years, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have effectively regulated “navigable waters”, which is the official term under the Clean Water Act, to protect both our environment and private property. But the Obama Administration is trying to change all of that.

Their new definition, the Obama’s administrations new definition, will give the EPA authority over every pond or seasonal stream, drainage ditch or puddle, in the United States – every single one. Every piece of land or waterfalls from the heavens, the EPA is claiming control over.

What does that mean if you want to put a deck on your house or move your driveway or build a shed or something similar? Well it means you’re going to have to apply to the federal government for a permit. What do those permits look like? They take upwards of 788 days to obtain and they cost upwards of $270,000 to get per permit, per puddle, per ditch, per stream that you want to amend. So I hope you are either really rich and have a ton of time on your hands or you don’t ever want to change anything because this is almost impossible.

Now, I’d call this new change, a solution in search of a problem, but it’s a solution that is going to create a problem. There is no evidence that this is going to give us stronger environmental protections that we’re going to have cleaner water or that we are even going to have a benefit. What’s really going to happen is that the EPA is going to be kingmaker, and you and I as Americans are going to be forced to grovel at their feet, begging for permits on our own land.

This really impacts those of us in the West tremendously, but this really is what every American should sit up and listen to because this impacts everybody including cities and counties. I really hope you don’t need a new hospital in your area or you don’t need a grocery store, or perhaps your city needs to expand or grow or change, because this effectively says one agency, headed by very political and liberal at this point, very liberal ideologues will get to make that decision. And they are not going to give us the benefit, and that’s the scary thing here.

So, I look forward to joining with Republicans and common sense Democrats because believe it or not, just like in years past Republicans and Democrats both opposed this, to put this block in place and move forward. And with that, I yield back. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

Background:
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.

Major General Peabody of the Army Corps of Engineers said this rule is based on “inappropriate assumptions with no connection to the data applied, misapplied data, analytical deficiencies, and logical inconsistencies.”

The U.S. House passed and Jaime supported similar legislation during the last congressional session.
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