News Releases

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Isakson Condemns Obama Administration's Overreach on Water

Vows to fight for Georgia's landowners, farmers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today condemned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for finalizing a new rule that allows the EPA to regulate nearly all private and state waters in the United States, including thousands of streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds and ditches.

Despite the Obama administration’s claims to the contrary, the rule represents a massive land grab by the federal government. Under this latest power grab by the administration, very few bodies of water escape the agencies’ broad definition of “waters of the United States.” The proposal effectively eliminates the Clean Water Act’s “navigable waters” provision, which was included by Congress to guarantee limits to federal authority.

“I will continue to fight this new ‘waters of the United States’ rule, which allows federal bureaucrats to assert control over thousands of streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds and ditches throughout the country,” said Isakson. “This latest overreach by the Executive Branch will provide the administration, as well as environmental groups, with a powerful tool to delay and prevent development and land use activities on property owned by homeowners, farms, small businesses and municipalities. This rule harms not only landowners, but our entire agriculture industry in Georgia.”

Isakson is a co-sponsor of S.1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would require the secretary of the Army and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to propose a regulation revising the definition of the term “waters of the United States,” to define clear limits and to take into account an economic analysis of the rule.

Last October, Isakson joined a group of 24 senators to challenge the rule in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Secretary of the Army John McHugh.

Background

On March 25, 2014, EPA and the Corps released their proposed rule redefining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The term “waters of the United States” is the Clean Water Act’s threshold provision that determines whether the law’s permitting and regulatory requirements apply to a particular body of water.

The proposed rule, which was finalized today, will provide EPA and the Corps, as well as environmental groups, with a powerful tool to delay and prevent development and land use activities on property owned by homeowners, farms, small businesses and municipalities. Federal bureaucrats—and not state and local authorities—could assert control over thousands of rivers, streams, lakes and marshes throughout the country.

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