Congressman praises House passage of Regulatory Integrity Protection Act

After House passage of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which aims to protect landowners from government overreach and ensure the protection of personal property by blocking the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) spoke out in support of the bill on Tuesday.

“I care about the property rights of landowners,” Reed said. “Not only are these rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, but they are vital to the American way of life. This bill ensures fairness in the regulatory process and for landowners.”

In response to recent efforts by the Obama administration, EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to implement WOTUS, a rule that would vastly expand the federal government’s ability to regulate waterways of any type – including even irrigation ditches and streams – concerned legislators drafted the bill to protect private-property owners across the nation. If implemented, WOTUS would allow bodies of water normally off-limits to federal regulation to be regulated and controlled by the EPA under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act would preserve the currently existing environmental regulations and requires the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to develop a new set of regulations, requiring full consideration of all public comment received on the matter, as well as input on the issue from both state and local governments.

Reed has long been a champion of the rights of landowners across the country. To that end, he recently formed the Property Rights Caucus, a group of 14 lawmakers committed to preserving the rights of property owners.

Other members of the caucus spoke in support of the legislation.

“With passage of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, we take a positive step in preventing the administration’s proposed ‘Waters of the United States’ rule, which would create more problems and confusion for our economy and environment than it claims to solve,” U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA).

“The agencies must consult with farmers, ranchers, small-business owners, contractors and homeowners on how to write this rule,” U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) said. “By creating a transparent process and working with state and local governments, the EPA and the Corps can go back to the drawing board and craft a rule that will provide clarity on the scope of the Clean Water Act, rather than muddy the waters.”