WASHINGTON – April 23, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) continues to fight the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) deeply-flawed proposed rule defining Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.
Mullin cosponsored legislation calling for the withdrawal of the proposed rule that would expand federal control. Through agency funding restrictions, Mullin is also working to put a halt to the rule expected to be released this spring.
“This proposed rule is an example of how the president and his administration are running rogue and trampling over states’ rights,” Mullin said. “I do not intend to stand by and let that happen without using every tool at my disposal to hold them accountable for their actions.”
The proposed rule, over which more than one million public comments were received during the public comment period last year, is expected to be released this spring. An April 7, 2015, Congressional Research Service report states the proposed rule was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on April 3, 2015. The OMB is typically the last stop before a rule is issued, the report states.
The legislation Mullin cosponsored, the Regulatory Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 1732), requires the Secretary of the Army on behalf of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Administrator of the EPA to withdraw the current rule defining Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.
The legislation would require consultation with stakeholders including those in the public and private sector, state and local governments before any new rule is drafted. Additionally, public comments submitted must be carefully considered in any additional rulemaking efforts.
The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved H.R. 1732 on April 15, 2015. In the meeting, Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (PA-09) said at least 32 states have requested the EPA withdraw or significantly modify the rule.
Mullin is also working to block funding for implementation of the proposed rule.
On March 18, 2015, Mullin and 103 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to two House appropriations subcommittees asking them to add language to their appropriations bills prohibiting the EPA and the Corps from using any appropriated funds for the proposed rule.
“This proposal runs contrary to Supreme Court decisions as well as state and tribal water laws,” the letter stated. “If implemented, this water grab would constitute an unlawful expansion of federal authority under the (Clean Water Act).”
When the U.S. House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee approved its Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water spending bill on April 15, 2015, the legislation included language prohibiting the Corps from using funds to develop, implement or enforce any change to regulations pertaining to the definition of waters under federal jurisdiction.
Mullin has been a leader in the U.S. House of Representatives against the proposed rule and the EPA’s attempts to significantly expand the definition of what qualifies as a water of the U.S. to the detriment of farming, ranching and many other sectors that create jobs.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan underscored the importance of the issue and praised Mullin’s actions.
“Farm Bureau has long been concerned about the EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule as we consider this a huge overreach by a federal agency,” Buchanan said. “WOTUS will have a serious impact on how we manage land and use modern farming and ranching methods to produce food and fiber. We applaud Congressman Mullin for his efforts to stop the EPA from enacting unnecessary and burdensome regulations.”