WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Martha Roby, who was one of the 261 members to vote Tuesday for overturning a controversial new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the agency’s effort to further regulate water in the country “reeks of a radical environmental agenda.”
Along with the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA is seeking to redefine “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act to include small areas water collects or could collect, such as ditches, puddles and small ponds.
Every Republican member from Alabama voted in favor of blocking the new rule. The state’s lone Democratic representative, Terri Sewell (D-AL7) did not vote.
Opponents of the redefinition say it is yet another example of overreach from the EPA that will be detrimental to property rights, particularly farmers and other landowners.
“I’ve heard from countless farmers, foresters and families in Alabama who are under threat of being aggressively and unnecessarily penalized by federal water regulators,” said Rep. Roby in a press release following the vote. “Trying to expand the definition of navigable waters to include puddles and ditches has never made sense. It reeks of a radical environmental agenda being forced on Americans, and Congress is right to take steps to stop it.
“What you are starting to see is significant bi-partisan opposition to this aggressive, unnecessary regulation. We all want to ensure rules are followed to keep our waters clean. But, making puddles and ditches subject to inspection just to expand the reach of federal regulators has nothing to do with clean water.”
Last month, the House included a provision in its fiscal year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that would block funding from being used to develop, adopt, implement or enforce the proposed new rule. The Senate signaled last week that it will also work to block the bill by adopting an amendment to that effect during debate over the non-binding budget resolution.
The Senate is also expected to take up legislation similar to that passed by the House Tuesday.
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— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) January 21, 2015