November 3, 2015

Cassidy Pushes Back on EPA’s WOTUS Rule

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), a cosponsor of the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, S.1140, released the following statement after voting to push back on the Obama administration’s “Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule,” which defines what streams, rivers, ponds, wetlands, ditches, and waterways are subject to federal oversight under the Clean Water Act:

“When I’m in Louisiana, I consistently hear about the impacts this rule could have on private property, private property development, timberland, farmland and other water bodies that would be subject to federal control. Louisiana is experiencing significant economic growth, growth that is bringing jobs to those Americans who have had the hardest time finding jobs with this recent poorly performing economy. This progress will be negatively affected as a result of this rule. For example—in Calcasieu Parish, more than sixty billion dollars in various manufacturing projects are underway or are in the process of being approved. These will require construction workers, creating the kind of jobs our economy needs more of. These projects can be severely impacted as a consequence of this rule. Instead of people in Louisiana deciding how best to use their property, the federal government will be able to dictate many land-use decisions, which have always been local.”

President Obama threatened to veto the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. This defines how the EPA and Army Corps should and should not define waters of the United States. It directs the EPA and the Corps to issue a revised rule that protects traditional navigable water and wetlands from water pollution, while also protecting Americans’ property rights. It establishes specific guidelines that the revised rule must follow, and requires specific analyses that the EPA and the Corps must conduct. By requiring a revised rule, the bill provides Americans with a pathway to resolving ongoing uncertainty over the definition of “waters of the U.S.” and the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. By setting statutory parameters for the revised rule, the bill gives Americans a more powerful voice in the rulemaking process that cannot be discarded by unelected federal bureaucrats and Obama administration ideologues. 

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have bypassed Congress and broadened the scope of their jurisdiction to regulate waters of the United States, creating uncertainty for Louisiana farmers, businesses, private land owners and local governments to plan economic development projects and decide how to best use their property.

Dr. Cassidy delivered remarks on the harmful effects of the rule, outlining which Louisiana parishes will be out of compliance. Watch his remarks HERE.