Inhofe-Mica United Against Federal Land Grab Legislation
Congressional Hearings Expose Significant Opposition to Democrat Water Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, and U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republican Leader, today issued the following statements reflecting on the recent Senate and House hearings on the highly controversial Clean Water Restoration Act.
Sen. Inhofe:“Recent hearings in both the Senate and House on the Clean Water Restoration Act made clear the tremendous opposition to the bill by landowners, cattleman, and local governments. Both Committees heard repeatedly in testimony that clean water is critical for our well being; however, this bill does not lead to cleaner water and is nothing more than a federal land grab attempt. If Congress is to amend the Clean Water Act, any changes must provide clarity and reduce lawsuits. This bill does neither. It will not curtail litigation, but rather increase it, as stakeholders seek legal clarity on what exactly are the outer limits of Congressional authority. We should not propose, let alone pass legislative language that increases uncertainty, burdens local governments, and challenges the sanctity of private property rights.”
Rep. Mica: “There is significant nationwide opposition to this unprecedented and historic federal jurisdiction grab, made clear by the lengthy Transportation Committee hearing on Mr. Oberstar’s bill. Multiple witnesses testified to the confusion, costs, delays, and endless litigation that will result should this overreaching bill become law. The responsible regulatory agencies also voiced their concerns with the bill, and testified that they are gaining significant experience with their recent guidance and believe that such a heavy-handed legislative approach is unwarranted. H.R. 2421 and its companion bill in the Senate could lead to the regulation of virtually every wet area in the country, with dramatic impacts on American agri-business, manufacturing, housing, and other businesses, as well as state, local, and individual water and land use rights. With our economy already in troubled waters, this legislation could push American jobs overseas and put another nail in our economic coffin.”
Inhofe and Mica pointed out that the Clean Water Act has been a great success in improving and protecting the quality of water across the nation. Yet the proposed legislation threatens to unbalance these gains with the potential for virtually unchecked federal regulation.
Inhofe and Mica agreed that federal regulation of waters must be reasonable and respectful of the constitutional role of state, local, and tribal governments, as well as the rights of individuals; it must not create greater confusion and regulatory ambiguity. Simultaneously, it must not increase expensive and burdensome litigation or create more bureaucracy that will imperil water quality gains of recent decades; and must not prevent our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and other businesses from providing food, goods and services to the nation.