April 30, 2015

Manchin, Capito Introduce Legislation to Rein in EPA Jurisdiction on Water Sources

Bipartisan group of senators to introduce the ‘Water Quality Protection Act’

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today joined a bipartisan group of senators to introduce the Water Quality Protection Act, which addresses long-standing concerns regarding a rule proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to redefine the “waters of the U.S.” definition under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The proposed rule stems from a draft guidance document on “waters of the U.S.” that was originally released in 2011.

The legislation ensures that states and local communities should be consulted in meaningful ways on rules before they are formally proposed, especially if the rule will have a significant impact on future investments, capital costs, operations and mandates for the people directly impacted.

“With the prospect of tens of thousands of jobs on the line, the EPA cannot overreach its authority, yet again, by expanding the definition of water sources it can regulate,” Senator Manchin said. “This bipartisan legislation lays out specific guidelines on what the EPA is allowed to oversee. The bottom line is that no federal agency should go around Congress to control what has not been legislated, especially when its actions will harm economic growth. Our top priority must be creating and protecting American jobs. That’s my commitment to the Mountain State and this country, and I will continue to fight for our families and West Virginia jobs every day.”   

“EPA’s proposed Waters of the United States rule threatens to impede small businesses, agriculture, and coal and natural gas production in West Virginia. This is a burden our state simply cannot afford. There is no question that we want to protect our drinking water sources and our precious natural resources, but a rule that will subject puddles and ditches to regulation would lead to a massive expansion of costly permitting requirements on farmers, energy producers, small businesses and manufacturers. The Federal Water Quality Protection Act will rein in this proposed rule and protect West Virginia from the threat of yet another overreaching EPA regulation,” said Senator Capito.

Original co-sponsors also include Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Pat Roberts (R-KS).

To read the full text of the Water Quality Protection Act, please click here.