ACTION ALERT: Urge your senators to defund EPA
11/17/2011 4:54 PM
Senate vote to defund EPA Corps Wetlands Regulations
Tell both your senators to vote Yes on “Barrasso Heller Amendment” to defund EPA Corps jurisdiction expansion. Call both your senators at (202) 224-3121.
The EPA and Corps have published new regulations expanding the term “Navigable” so it could cover a bird feeder in your back yard. Don’t let the EPA and Corps get away with expanding their own jurisdiction and undermining the limits Congress placed on them by limiting their Jurisdiction to “Navigable Waters” in the Clean Water Act.
“The EPA and Corps actually want to control all waters of the United States and all activities affecting those waters. You do not want the EPA and Corps in your backyard,” said Chuck Cushman of American Land Rights Association.
The Senate vote is slated for after the Thanksgiving holiday and Congressional Recess to defund the new EPA and Corps of Engineers Clean Water Act regulations.
Please make your calls now! Keep calling through Thanksgiving week and after until you hear that the Senate has voted. Call, call again. Keep calling. Call your friends.
The Senate will likely vote after Thanksgiving an Appropriations Bill Amendment sponsored by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2012 that would Defund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (Corps) attempt to expand its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA) through guidance documents and/or regulation. This is a full Senate vote.
- Call both your senators NOW to urge them to vote YES on the BARRASSO/HELLER CWA (Clean Water Act Amendment) (EPA Corps Wetlands jurisdiction). Call any Senator at (202) 224-3121. Ask for the staff person who handles Clean Water Act issues. Tell them the vote will be scored by the League of Private Property Voters.
- Forward this link
as quickly as widely as possible. This is very important.
- Do not assume your friends and allies know about this vote. You must get everyone you know to call.
- If one or both your Senators are Democrats it is especially important that you call, fax and e-mail them. Get your neighbors, friends and business associates to call.
In May of this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Corps proposed a "guidance" document that attempts to expand their jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to include almost all waters across the country.
The guidance has not been finalized yet, but the agencies are quickly moving forward to a rulemaking redefining the term "waters of the United States." It is likely the agencies may send the proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within the next two weeks, which is the last stop before a regulation is officially proposed or finalized.
The agencies intend to have a final rule by January 2012. American Land Rights expects the proposed rule to contain much of the language from the CWA guidance and would therefore expand the types and number of waters subject to regulation under the CWA.
More waters falling under "waters of the U.S." would expand the permitting universe under the entire CWA, including Sec. 402 NPDES permits, Sec. 404 Dredge and Fill permits (wetlands), and Sec. 311 Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure plans.
The Amendment would do two things: (1) prohibit the Corps from finalizing the guidance and (2) prohibit the Corps from promulgating a rulemaking redefining "waters of the U.S."
Below are talking points for your phone calls:
- The guidance uses broad language to define things such as "tributaries" that could lead to almost any roadside, agricultural ditch or intermittent stream being subject to EPA and the Corps' jurisdiction.
- The guidance defines "traditional navigable waters" as any water that supports one-time recreational use (one trip in a canoe down a stream would qualify a water as a "traditional navigable water"). In the history of the Clean Water Act, the term "traditional navigable water" has only been used to describe major rivers that can float commercial vehicles like barges.
- Under this guidance, waters do not have to have a surface connection to a larger body of water that actually moves goods in interstate commerce to be subject to EPA/Corps' jurisdiction. The water body does not even have to have actual water in it for much of the year to be jurisdictional.
- It allows the agencies to "aggregate" similar types of waters (small streams, adjacent wetlands, ditches or isolated waters) within a watershed. This means the agencies only have to make a "jurisdictional determination" on one water body to then get jurisdiction over numerous others without considering them individually.
- The guidance goes beyond both the Supreme Court decisions in SWANCC and Rapanos because it takes the court's narrow opinion on wetlands and applies it to all types of waters.
- The amendment would prevent the Corps from finalizing this guidance, and would also stop the Corps from initiating a rulemaking that would more broadly define "waters of the United States."
Notice: A special thanks to Kerry White with Citizens for Balanced Use, 1-406-600-4CBU — Kerry@balanceduse.org. Much of this alert came from their material. Citizens for Balanced Use, PO box 606, Gallatin Gateway, Montana 59730.Thank you in advance for your support.
American Land Rights Association
Chuck Cushman, Executive Director
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003