House Passes Bill to Limit EPA Expansion of Waters Rule
Stockgrowers Thank Noem for Leadership on Clean Water Act
The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association applaud the House’s passage of legislation that would limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to expand regulation over water in the United States. The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act (H.R. 5078) prohibits agencies from continuing attempts to assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over nearly all areas that connect to navigable waters, which could include ditches, culverts, and farmland ponds.
“We appreciate that Kristi Noem and the House of Representatives for taking such quick and bi-partisan action to limit this overreach from EPA,” said Stockgrowers President Bob Fortune. “Stockgrowers is very concerned about EPA’s attempts to regulate water with such a heavy hand. We know that this overreach of EPA’s jurisdiction is going to have implications for private property owners and be a costly burden for our ranch families.”
In a statement issued earlier this week, Congresswoman Kristi Noem said, “The proposed ‘navigable waters’ rule could become one of the largest federal land grabs in history,” Noem went on to explain that, “if this unnecessary and unproven proposal moves forward, new permitting requirements on private land could become extremely burdensome and costly for farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and landowners. It must be withdrawn. I urge the Senate to act quickly to protect our private property rights and put an end to the EPA’s attempted land grab.”
Under EPA’s proposed rule, intermittent and ephemeral streams across the country would now come under EPA authority and require special permits for any activity occurring within those watersheds and “adjacent” lands. Maps recently released by EPA shows that approximately 77%, more than 5.5 million miles of waterways, are considered intermittent and ephemeral.
“Basically, EPA is proposing that any that drains into a navigable water be regulated by their agency. Ranchers could be required to have permits to graze cattle on these lands, farm or even put up their hay,” said Fortune. “Stockgrowers are 100% opposed to this proposal and we thank Rep Noem for her support.”