Hultgren Acts to Protect Farmers, Private Property Rights from EPA Overreach

Hultgren Acts to Protect Farmers, Private Property Rights from EPA Overreach

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 4, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) has joined 90 of his colleagues in sending a letter to the leadership at the House Committee on Appropriations requesting they stop any funding which can be used to change the definition of waters under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

On March 25, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), issued a draft rule to amend the (CWA) redefining “waters of the United States” to give EPA and USACE unprecedented regulatory authority over bodies of water.

Their connectivity report, which claimed that all bodies of water, no matter the size, are connected “is in direct contradiction of the Supreme Court decision which clearly upholds the policy that isolated wetlands could not be considered ‘waters of the United States’ for purposes under the CWA,” the letter reads.

This move opens up farms and other private property to EPA regulation and intrusion, such as farm ponds, storm drains, and other non-navigable water bodies. “These regulatory changes will have wide ranging effects on everything from construction to agriculture,” the letter says.

Earlier this year the House passed H.R. 4923, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015, which included a section prohibiting any funds from being used to “develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change” to the definition of waters under the CWA. The letter urges that “the same language be included in any fiscal year 2015 spending measure or any Continuing Resolution the House may consider.”

During a previous Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing, Rep. Hultgren took EPA’s Deputy Administrator to task hearing for his wavering and opaque explanation of the Clean Water Rule and how it will affect Illinois 14th District constituents. The rule is meant to clarify jurisdiction but lacks any scientific justification, and the Deputy Administrator’s answer only further confused the issue.

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