June 15, 2012
The U.S. House of Representatives rejected an amendment (152 to 237) by Rep. Jim Moran (Va.) that would have removed a provision in the fiscal year 2013 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) from using federal funds to finalize or implement its Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdictional guidance.
The EPA/Corps guidance would substantively change the agencies' policy on waters subject to jurisdiction under the CWA and, as they acknowledge, will significantly increase the scope of the CWA's jurisdiction over more waters as compared to current practice. The guidance would give EPA and the Corps jurisdiction over all types of waters regardless of their navigability and many features not waters at all, including bar ditches, playa lakes and dry creek beds. While the agencies claim that the guidance would provide clarity and certainty to landowners, in actuality, it would provide federal agencies with more regulatory authority, infringe on private property rights and subject livestock producers to more costly, burdensome regulations.
The Energy and Water Appropriations bill is expected to be completed next week and then sent to the Senate for further consideration. It is not clear when or if the Senate will debate the bill.
Reprinted in part from Western Livestock Journal