Fight over “Waters of the United States” continues

Rep. Markwayne Mullin

Rep. Markwayne Mullin

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) said Wednesday that the fight over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) epic power grab continues even as the agency indicates that the final rule regarding the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act may be issued by April 2015.

Mullin has been a leader in the U.S. House of Representatives against the proposed rule and the EPA’s attempts to significantly expand the definition of what qualifies as a water of the U.S. to the detriment of farming, ranching and many other sectors that create jobs.

EPAcostlyAdditionally, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today held a joint hearing with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to examine the impacts on state and local governments of the proposed rule. The Senate committee is chaired by Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe.

“I am glad that Senator Inhofe is continuing to shed light on this issue so critical to Oklahoma.” said Mullin. “This shows how Oklahomans are refusing to relent and we will continue to put pressure on the EPA and to stand up against this terrible proposal.”

OKDeerLast fall, Mullin held public informational meetings around the Second District regarding how the proposal will redefine navigable waters under the Act. The meetings were designed to give people the facts and encourage them to get involved in the process of fighting the federal overreach by participating in the rulemaking process through the public comment period that closed November 14, 2014.

Over one million public comments were received during the comment period, according to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s testimony in today’s joint hearing.

FishingOK1Mullin’s public meetings were held in Broken Bow, Vinita, McAlester and Okmulgee. The second-term lawmaker’s office worked with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association and the Oklahoma Pork Council to get the word out to farmers and ranchers. Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan joined Mullin in McAlester to underscore the importance of the issue.

“The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the proposed rule to greatly increase their authority over large swaths of land that could include our farms, ranches and even dry ditches,” Mullin said. “The EPA calls this new rule a ‘clarification’ of what constitutes a ‘navigable waterway.’ Unfortunately this proposed rule would take away from states the regulation of navigable waters and allow a large expansion of the types of terrain requiring a federal permit.”

In September the House passed legislation Mullin co-sponsored, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act (H.R. 5078), to uphold the federal-state partnership to regulate our nation’s waters by preserving existing rights and responsibilities with respect to WOTUS under the Clean Water Act.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin

Rep. Markwayne Mullin

The legislation remained alongside hundreds of other bipartisan House-passed bills that then U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid never brought to the Senate floor for consideration.

“The battle against this kind of federal overreach continues at many levels and I will keep fighting to hold this administration accountable in its attempts to tell farmers and ranchers how to take care of their own land,” Mullin said.

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