House passes bill to block Clean Water Rule | TSLN.com

House passes bill to block Clean Water Rule

The House on Tuesday passed a bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency from proceeding with the Clean Water Rule, previously known as the Waters of the United States rule.

The vote was 261-155.

EPA has sent the rule to the Office of Management and Budget.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, spoke in favor of the legislation on the House floor.

"The EPA's defense of this rule is that it provides clarity to producers regarding what is and is not regulated, but in reality, this rule will allow nearly every body of water in the United States to be controlled by federal regulators," Conaway said.

"What makes the rule ambiguous is the claim made by EPA and the Army Corps that the rule is not all encompassing, yet the agencies also declared they will use their best professional judgment on when they will regulate a water and when they will not," he said. "These vague statements hold little comfort for farmers and ranchers who will face steep civil fines for any violation."

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Environment America, a federation of statewide organizations, noted in a news release today that the bill failed to garner enough votes to override a presidential veto.

The group said it would launch a summer campaign to develop support for the rule.

"For nearly 30 years, the Clean Water Act ensured clear federal protections for America's waters," the group said.

"Then a set of misguided court decisions left more than half the nation's streams and 20 million acres of without clear protection under the act. The EPA's proposed clean water rule would restore these protections to thousands of waterways across the country, including streams that help provide drinking water to one in every three Americans."

–The Hagstrom Report