Friday, May 15, 2015
Billy Long: I will fight the EPA and its nonsensical regulations
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers jointly proposed a rule “clarifying” the definition of waterways subject to clean water permits, known as “waters of the U.S.” In reality, the “clarification” amounts to a massive land and water grab. It would have a devastating impact on everyday life in the Ozarks, which is why I voted this week to pass the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would force the EPA to withdraw and reconsider this ridiculous rule.
The EPA and the Corps currently only have permit-issuing authority to uphold the natural integrity of our navigable waterways, interstate streams, territorial seas or connected wetlands. The existing standards have been in place since the Clean Water Act of 1972. The proposed expansion, however, would broaden federal power to tributaries, ditches, streams only flowing during heavy rains and waters in flood plains.
This massive shift would give the all-powerful EPA authority to require farmers that plow and plant to seek permits beforehand. Construction of barns, homes or businesses would need a permit as well due to potential impact on a local stream. Highway ditches and infrastructure would fall under the expansion. Even if the nearest running stream is miles away, the typically dry creek nearby would be considered a “water of the U.S.” and any activity surrounding the creek would be unnecessarily stuck with red tape, which could take months to comply with.
I have heeded the concerns of Seventh District farmers, businesses and officials about this absurd regulation. It would have undue harm on our area’s economy and way of life. That’s why I voted to force the EPA to withdraw the regulation and consider the economic costs, Supreme Court cases and comments from farmers, businesses, state and local officials and anyone whom a reconsidered rule would impact. After all, it is those caring for the land and resources who know best how to protect them.
I will continue to fight against the EPA and its nonsensical regulations that pay no mind to generations-old southwest Missouri lifestyles and traditions.