Senate, House GOP leaders say Obama water plan would hurt energy companies

Feb. 4, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OKla.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works released the following joint statement with U.S. Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, following today’s Senate-House hearing on the Administration’s proposed rule to expand federal regulation of waters under the Clean Water Act the proposal’s potential impacts on state and local governments:

“It is clear after today’s testimony from the Obama Administration and state and local leaders that we need to ditch the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted the rule is flawed by repeatedly committing to fix the proposal when Members of Congress raised serious concerns about how it would impact their constituents, communities, and local industries.  She admitted that the proposed rule is inconsistent and ambiguous. In response to questions, she committed to make changes to ensure that isolated ponds, storm sewer systems, water reuse systems, roadside ditches, rock quarries, and farm activities all will be exempt. McCarthy also pledged to review each of the more than one million comments recently submitted to the proposed rule. Undermining all of her previous commitments, however, McCarthy also said any change to the rule would not be significant enough to warrant re-proposal and pledged today to plow ahead to issue a final rule by spring. The EPA cannot have it both ways.  If the rule is flawed it should be withdrawn. Small changes will not be sufficient. 

“We have received letters from farmers, ranchers, homebuilders, manufacturers, and utilities that this proposal would greatly expand federal control over both land and water. The proposal would make it difficult to build anything, whether it is a house to provide shelter to a family, a factory expansion to provide needed jobs, transmission lines or pipelines to bring energy where it is needed, or highways and bridges. Today, we heard testimony from state and local governments that the rule was developed without their input, would expand federal jurisdiction, and would cause greater confusion and increased costs. 

“We will continue to conduct oversight over the EPA and work together towards legislation to prevent this flawed rule from being finalized.  We need to ensure that the Administration follows through on its word to make necessary and significant changes to the rule in response to the concerns of the states and local governments, and the more than one million comments filed by the public.”