H.R.5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, passed Sept. 9 by a vote of 262 yeas to 152 nays, with more than 30 Democrats supporting the bill. The bill would force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the proposed rule expanding jurisdiction over Waters of the United States, and require consultation with the states. The results of this federal state consultation would be sent back to Congress, which would then decide whether to proceed with a rulemaking.
The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) has actively supported H.R.5078 along with many other associations in the Waters Advocacy Coalition. In addition to key voting H.R.5078, NSSGA also activated its grassroots, and had 130 separate NSSGA members contact their member of Congress urging a “yes” vote.
NSSGA said it is pleased to see such a strong vote of opposition to EPA’s attempts to radically expand their jurisdiction. The strong bipartisan vote in the House is significant but with the election looming the bill faces significant hurdles in the Senate.
Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del., said “NAHB commends the House for passing bipartisan legislation championed by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) that would prevent federal overreach by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would harm individual landowners and home buyers and impact economic growth.
“H.R. 5078 prohibits the EPA and Corps from finalizing a proposed rule that would dramatically increase their authority over ‘waters of the U.S.’ to include almost any body of water, such as ditches, mudflats, prairie potholes and other water features.
“Allowing these agencies to radically increase their jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act would impede the fledgling housing recovery by greatly increasing the number of construction sites required to obtain permits, which would also delay and raise the cost of home building projects. Moreover, many American families would be priced out of the housing market if this rule is finalized in its current form.
“Today’s House vote sends a strong message to the EPA to go back to the drawing board to find a common-sense middle ground plan that will maintain environmental safeguards and protect landowners from unnecessary regulation.”