This week, the United States House of Representatives will consider H.R. 5538, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, introduced by Representative Ken Calvert (R-Calif.). This legislation allocates 2017 federal funding for agencies such as the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Services, the Indian Health Service, and other related agencies.  

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has offered an Amendment (#7) to H.R. 5538 that would prohibit the use of funds to carry out the draft EPA-USGA Technical Report entitled, “Protecting Aquatic Life from Effects of Hydrologic Alteration.” Agency guidance under the report would expand the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and increase federal control over waters currently under the jurisdiction of the states.

Since taking office, the Obama administration has sought to enact a number of overreaching and extraneous regulations on individuals and businesses that have cost billions of dollars. For instance, under Obama the EPA has put forth the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which would allow the agency to regulate private property anywhere that water can conceivably flow. It is estimated the WOTUS rule would cost American property owners and small businesses hundreds of millions annually in compliance and related costs.

Now, the EPA is again looking to expand it’s authority as part of agency guidance under the EPA-USGA Technical Report. If EPA authority were expanded pursuant to the Report, the agency could require an individual private water owner or local municipality to obtain a federal permit anytime they alter the amount of water available in rivers or other water systems.

American citizens cannot afford more economic hurdles and the commandeering of state powers over precious water supplies from an overzealous, unaccountable federal government.  States, local governments, and private water rights holders should not be subjected to such costly and burdensome federal overreach.

Americans for Tax Reform encourages all members of Congress to support Rep. Gosar’s Amendment #7 to H.R. 5538, which would prohibit funds for the EPA-USGS Technical Report, which aims to expand the scope of federal control over waters currently under the jurisdiction of states. 


Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore