U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) joined a number of his GOP colleagues in cosponsoring Senator John Barrasso’s (R-Wyoming) legislation to block a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expanding its authority to regulate small wetlands, creeks, stock ponds, and ditches under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014 would prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing its March 2014 proposed rule, which would significantly expand federal authority under the CWA.
“The EPA’s proposed power grab has serious implications for South Dakota property owners,” said Thune. “Direct and indirect costs would result from additional permit application expenses, mitigation requirements, and environmental analysis, and violating these requirements could cost farmers, ranchers, homeowners, and businesses thousands of dollars per day. I will continue to work with my colleagues to block these heavy-handed EPA regulations that would saddle businesses and families throughout South Dakota and across the country with expensive permits and fines.”
On March 25, 2014, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule that includes broad new definitions of the scope of “waters of the United States” that fall under the jurisdiction of the CWA. The proposed definition could apply to a countless number of small wetlands, creeks, stock ponds, and ditches that are typically regulated at a state level. This expansion of the EPA’s regulatory authority would have significant economic impacts for property owners who would likely be hit with new federal permits, compliance costs, and threats of significant fines.
On May 8, 2014, Thune sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about his concerns and opposition to the EPA’s power grab to expand its authority under the CWA.The Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014 is endorsed by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), John Cornyn (R-Texas), David Vitter (R-Louisiana), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Richard Burr (R-North Carolina).