Monday, September 26, 2016
EPA in hot water…again
The Environmental Protection Agency is being picked on from both sides of the Capitol this week—for good reason, mind you.
Over on the House side, legislation will soon be voted on in the Science, Space and Technology Committee that would move along the process of appointing an agriculture advisory committee within EPA.
If EPA is going to regulate farmers into oblivion, they better have an agriculture advisory council to consult.
The “Agriculture Delivering Vastly Improved Science at the EPA Now Act,” (or ADVISE Now Act—see what they did there?) requires EPA’s Science Advisory Board to appoint the agriculture panel within 30 days of the legislation being signed into law. If EPA fails to meet that target, USDA would have the authority to appoint the advisory board and fill vacancies.
I’d prefer that EPA fail to meet the deadline, as I’m sure USDA would select more qualified board members than EPA ever could. That would require EPA to actually talk to farmers and understand what it’s like to farm the land.
It seems like EPA can’t catch a break from Congress these days, but I don’t feel sorry for the agency in the least. The senseless overregulation it inflicts on rural America is nothing short of vindictive.
I could go on forever about the EPA’s treatment of farmers and ranchers, but I’ll stop for now and pivot to the other side of the Capitol—the Senate.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Republican Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma, recently released a report on the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. Within the report are findings from the committee Republicans’ investigation on how EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are “interpreting and implementing their authority under the Clean Water Act.”
The report is titled “From Preventing Pollution of Navigable and Interstate Waters to Regulating Farm Fields, Puddles and Dry Land: A Senate Report on the Expansion of Jurisdiction Claimed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act.”
Or, in plain terms: EPA is going rogue with its implementation of the infamous WOTUS rule, and it’s past time to put an end to it.
Instead of simply railing on the EPA, Inhofe also called on 11 Senate Democrats to work with the committee to put a stop to EPA’s overreach.
Why 11 Democrats? In November 2015, this group of senators wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Secretary of the Army JoEllen Darcy, stating, “Farmers, ranchers, water utilities, local governments and contractors deserve clarity and certainty. Should the EPA not provide this clarity or enforce this rule in a way that erodes traditional exemptions, we reserve the right to support efforts in the future to revise the rule.”
This is Inhofe calling their bluff, in an election year to boot. Well played, Sen. Inhofe.
Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.