Senate passes Barrasso amendment to protect water and property rights
March 27, 2015
Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), successfully included an amendment to Senate Budget Resolution, S. Con. Res. 11, that limits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from adopting an expanded and broad regulatory definition of "Waters of the United States." The amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 59 to 40.
In addition to Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Barrasso's amendment #347 was co-sponsored by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dan Coats (R-IN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Deb Fischer (R-NE), David Vitter (R-LA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ben Sasse (R-NE).
"The EPA has made it clear it has no problem going around Congress and the American people to pursue its extreme regulatory agenda. The latest attempt to expand the definition of 'Waters of the U.S.' is no exception," said Barrasso. "The Administration claims it has no intention of using this rule to regulate things like drainage ditches and isolated ponds. My amendment simply holds the Administration to their word. This will give our farmers, ranchers and small business owners the certainty and peace of mind they deserve."
"I am proud to stand with the majority of the Senate to rein in EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers attempts to expand the regulatory definition of the term 'water of the United States.' EPA regulations have long been unchecked and costly to American taxpayers, and an attempt to expand federal control over land and water is no different. This amendment calls on EPA and the Corps of Engineers to keep their promises to members of Congress and farmers, and to heed the call from local governments to ensure that water management systems are not waters of the U.S. I applaud my colleagues who voted to recognize limits on federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, and pursue an environment with less red tape and more state control." – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Barrasso's amendment #347 establishes a spending-neutral reserve fund to ensure federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act is focused on water quality, which may include limiting federal jurisdiction based on certain criteria.
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Barrasso Amendment #347 specifically:
• Limits how the Environmental Protection Agency or the Army Corps of Engineers determine what is connected to the waters of the United States.
• Limits include not allowing the agencies to make a determination based on the movement of birds, mammals, and insects.
• Prevents determinations based on the movement of water through the ground – or the movement of rain water, or snow melt, over the land outside of a channel.
• Prohibits Water Pollution Control Act from extending to things like puddles, isolated ponds, roadside ditches, and wastewater systems.