Agency seeks control over private property while cutting needed drinking water funding
Washington, D.C. – Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with jurisdiction over the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says today’s announcement by the agency to significantly expand the definition of waters regulated under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) for streams and wetlands infringes both on state water rights and the property rights of private landowners.
Making things worse, Crapo noted the EPA is, at the same time, seeking to cut drastically federal funding for municipal drinking water systems funded through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget.
“This announcement is a call to arms on property rights,” Crapo said. “The Administration continues to push policies and initiatives that emphasize further government regulation and intrusion, often at the expense of American jobs and the economy, as well as our nation’s farmers and ranchers. Instead, the agency must focus efforts on better assisting states and local communities in ensuring a safe and clean environment in the most effective way possible—doing so in a collaborative manner that ensures the costs don’t outweigh the benefits.
“This proposed rule that threatens to drastically increase the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is unacceptable. By expanding the reach of the federal government, this proposed action threatens to undermine states’ primacy and private property rights in regulating wetlands and other bodies of water not intended to be included in the CWA, such as ditches, ponds and other bodies of water. We have already seen cases where Idahoans are harassed over wetlands in their backyard.”
“Furthermore, the recent decision by the agency to target the successful SRF drinking water program demonstrates how out of the touch the Administration is with federal programs that work and have popular support. The program, which has long bipartisan support, is critical for continued investment in our nation’s water infrastructure and helps ensure safe and clean water for Idahoans and all Americans,” Crapo concluded.