EPA Wants to Regulate Waters of the U.S.

Jul 11, 2014

This week the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency spent two days in Missouri pushing the agency’s latest attempt to regulate our rural way of life. In the last few years the EPA has attempted to regulate everything from how we meet our energy needs to prohibiting young people from working on the family farm. Just when I thought the EPA could not get any more extreme, now they are trying to place new intrusive and ineffective rules on every body of water in the United States.


In April, the EPA announced it would attempt to expand the regulatory reach of the Clean Water Act through a new “Waters of the United States” plan. The proposed new rule would give Washington bureaucrats the power to regulate nearly every area of the ground that gets wet or has water flow during rainfall. The rule could be viewed in a way that would expand the EPA’s reach to cover all ponds, puddles, temporary or small wetlands, irrigation ditches or similar collections of water. While the proposed rule would impact every American, it would have a particularly devastating impact on rural communities.


The driving force of our economy in South-Central and Southeast Missouri is agriculture. We grow every major crop in our district other than sugar and citrus fruits. Our farmers and ranchers raise nearly every kind of livestock including beef cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, chickens and even specialty livestock like bison. The EPA’s “Waters of the United States” proposal would force farmers who use fertilizers and pesticides to jump through needless and costly regulatory hoops. Livestock farmers could be forced to put a buffer zone between their animals and any body of water.


In an effort to fight the invasive “Waters of the United States” proposal, I had a provision included in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill that would ban funds from being used to enact the new rule. The House of Representatives passed the appropriations bill with my provision and now the fight will continue in the Unites States Senate. Our Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power of the purse strings. If the EPA continues its war on rural America, I will keep using every possible avenue to protect rural Missouri.


As the administrator of the EPA spent a few days in the Show-Me State this week, I hope she spent time listening to the folks who will be impacted by the agency’s regulations. Too often bureaucrats in Washington draft new rules without understanding or appreciating the impact they will have on rural America. As your voice in the House of Representatives, I will continue fighting the “Waters of the United States” proposal and all other Washington regulations that would harm our rural way of life.