Jim's Blog

Bridenstine Votes Against EPA Regulatory Overreach

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Washington D.C., September 9, 2014 | comments

I cosponsored and today I voted in favor of the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, H.R. 5078. Time and time again, we have seen this administration use the regulatory process to increase the federal governmentÍs authority, bypass Congressional intent, and trample on statesÍ rights. The proposed rule from the EPA and Corps of Engineers to expand the scope of the Clean Water Act is just another in a series of power grabs by an imperial president.

Under this proposed rule, self-contained ponds, wetlands, and even ditches would be considered "navigable waters," and thus eligible to be regulated by EPA. When Congress first passed the Clean Water Act, they never intended these to be covered by this legislation. Making the definition of "navigable waters" so expansive, the EPA is essentially trying to attempt a land grab. 

If property runs along a ditch, or a floodplain, or a riparian area, the EPA would have the authority to restrict the ownerÍs use of the land. Energy companies canÍt perform exploration activities, developers can't build, farmers canÍt maintain their crops, and ranchers canÍt raise their livestock without approval from the EPA. Michael Kelsey, the head of the Oklahoma Cattleman's Association, has said that this amounts to the EPA "giving us permission to farm." If this president and those at the EPA working to implement his extreme environmentalist agenda get their way, Mr. Kelsey is unfortunately correct.

Oklahomans love Oklahoma. They are not going to destroy their land or sully their water, but they are going to utilize the natural resources available to them. This intrusion by the federal government will severely limit their ability to do so. That is why I am a cosponsor of H.R. 5078, which prohibits the EPA and the Corps from implementing their proposed rule to redefine "waters of the United States."

Once again, the American people see that the House of Representatives is working diligently to increase economic freedom and reduce government intrusion into our lives, while the Senate sits idly by as this President makes a mockery of the legislative process. H.R. 5078 is necessary to prevent yet another power grab, and I am pleased that it passed the House. Now the Senate has responsibility to act.

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