Lawmakers slam EPA water rule

A water rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency would grind the U.S. economy to a halt by ­expanding federal authority over everything from ditches to seasonal streams.

“Every hollow and valley in my region has some sort of stream running through it, sometimes dry or intermittent, and those will be under your jurisdiction,” said Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “You’re grinding to a halt the economic engine of this country.”

The agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the “Waters of the U.S.” proposed rule March 25 to clarify what bodies of water are subject to the Clean Water Act requirements.

Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert, R-Calif., said, “Now every small business and farmer could be subject to EPA fines if they disturb a puddle on their land.”

Rogers remained unconvinced and contended the courts will find that EPA “completely overreached beyond its legal authority given by the Congress.”

Electric co-ops are also anxious about the repercussions of the water proposal. “We are reaching out to Congress and the states; we are working with a broad coalition of stakeholders to find a workable solution to maintain clean water for co-op communities without the unnecessary costs this proposal could impose,” said Dorothy Kellogg, NRECA Environmental Principal.

Source: Electric Co-op Today