Congressman: EPA water rule ‘brazen government overreach’

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moved forward by releasing the final version of its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) spoke out against the EPA and the rule.

“Today, the EPA stands by its decision to expand federal control over our nation’s waterways,” Lucas said. “This means anything from the largest lakes and rivers to the smallest drainage ditches commonly found on farms and ranches are subject to government scrutiny and penalties.”

The WOTUS Rule drastically broadens the definition of a body of water that can fall under the jurisdiction of the EPA through the Clean Water Act. Under WOTUS, the EPA can regulate not only rivers, streams and lakes, but also drainage ditches and even retention ponds on farms. The final rule redefines the term “navigable waterway” – which has traditionally guided federal policy – to cover almost any flowing or standing water located on public or private land.

“The public has spoken loud and clear on this issue, yet the Obama administration has shut out rural America from its decision-making process,” Lucas said. “Oklahoma’s ag producers share the same conservation goals as the rest of our country. Subjecting them to arbitrary fines and even more regulation will not make America’s water any cleaner. I continue to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in strong opposition to this brazen government overreach.”

Earlier this month, the House passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, which would prevent the administration from implementing the WOTUS Rule and require the EPA to rewrite the rule, considering input from the public and other stakeholders. The Senate has not yet acted on this legislation.