Battle Over Federal 'Clean Water Rule' Heats Up

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have drafted a new Clean Water Rule to clarify the regulatory powers of the Clan Water Act. In response, some members of Congress authored opposing legislation.

2 minute read

May 7, 2015, 11:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

"Recently, a number of Senators, led by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), introduced a bill to kill the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers' Clean Water Rule," according to an article by Jon Devine. Senator John Barraso (R-WY) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) authored the new bill, called the "Federal Water Quality Protection Act," in response to the ongoing Clean Water Rule rulemaking process. The U.S. EPA sent a draft of the Clean Water Rule—which would clarify the types of streams and wetlands protected under the federal Clean Water Act—for interagency review in April 2015.

Devine's purpose it to analyze the new bill and to make it clear that the Natural Resources Defense Council opposes the bill. The post goes into detail about the new bill by listing several false premises and several barriers to protection created by the bill. The NRDC's argument, however, boil down to this: the new legislation will make it harder to protect streams, wetlands, and isolated waters.

In April, a blog post by Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. EPA, and Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the U.S. Army Corps, made the case for the draft Clean Water Rule. Environmentalists and the U.S. EPA have been using #CleanWaterRules to advocate for the approval of the draft version of the rule.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have already expressed support for the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. The golf industry went on the record in September 2014 in opposition to the Clean Water Rule, joining a coalition of opposed business and agricultural interests.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 in NRDC Switchboard

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