"EPA and the Corps must abandon the proposed Waters of the United States rule. It presents a grave threat to Americans' property rights, and its finalization will force landowners throughout the country to live with the unending prospect that their homes, farms, or communities could be subject to ruinous Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations and litigation," wrote the Members.
In the letter, the Members emphasized that the proposed WOTUS rule presents serious federalism concerns since it would call for an extra-constitutional relationship between the federal government and the States in the regulation of local land-use matters.
The proposed WOTUS rule would significantly increase the amount of private property subject to federal control, including timberland, farmland, and innumerable waterbodies and other private lands. Finalizing the rule would allow the federal government to govern virtually any activity impacting an area where water flows, which means federal government permits would be required for all sorts of routine activities - including installing a playground in a backyard or extending a driveway - and would provide a new litigation tool for far-left environmentalists to attack private citizens and businesses. The public comment period for WOTUS ends on November 14th.
In October, Vitter joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in leading 24 Senators in requesting the EPA and the Corps to withdraw the proposed rule. Click here to read more. In September, Vitter penned an op-ed in The Hill entitled, "Drowning our property rights: EPA's misuse of the Clean Water Act." In August, Vitter hosted a field briefing in New Orleans, Louisiana to examine the potential impacts of the proposed WOTUS rule.
The Members signing today's letter include Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.), top Republican on the EPW Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), top Republican on the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Actions, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), top Republican on the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, as well as Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, and Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law.