WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 16, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will offer an amendment today at the markup of H.R. 1732, the so-called “Regulatory Integrity Protection Act,” to try to keep Republicans from undermining current regulatory efforts to protect clean water sources. As currently written, H.R. 1732 would require the Obama Administration to withdraw the current proposed rulemaking to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act and require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin all over again to develop a new proposed rule to define the term “waters of the United States” with a number of substantive requirements. Among these requirements, the bill mandates the EPA and Army Corps to undertake a new round of consultation with stakeholders and before a new proposed rule can be issued, the agencies must publish a report in the Federal Register that responds to each public comment to the existing public rule, summarizes disagreements with and recommendations of stakeholders, and provides legal, economic, and regulatory analysis of the proposed rule. The existing proposed rule received over 1 million comments. The EPA expects to issue its final rule in the spring of 2015. The Norton amendment would ensure that the EPA Administrator and Secretary of the Army will still have the authority to protect the quality of surface water that is available for public water supplies.
“One in three Americans have public water systems that rely on seasonal, rain-dependent, and headwater streams, and the proposed Clean Water Act rulemaking will protect these water sources,” said Norton. “Yet, here we go again with a bill that would delay a process that has already gone on for years and require that the EPA and Army Corps redo their work. We need to let the rulemaking process play itself out before Congress takes action to derail current efforts.”
In prior Congresses, Norton has introduced a similar amendment when Republicans have tried to deregulate public drinking water.