WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), and committee members Sens. John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Lankford (R-OK), and Jim Risch (R-ID) filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court regarding overreaching groundwater regulation.

In the brief, the senators explain that Congress only intended for the Clean Water Act to require federal discharge permits where pollution travels directly from a point source to a water of the United States.

The senators write that other federal and state laws already protect groundwater: “There is already sufficient state and federal regulation to protect ground and surface waters without contravening the will of Congress. At the federal level, groundwater quality is already regulated by several federal laws, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition, all fifty States regulate groundwater through state or cooperative-federal programs.”

The senators also note that Clean Water Act permitting and liability would skyrocket without an environmental benefit because of this overreaching expansion of regulation.

Read the full brief here.

Background Information:

On May 23, 2018, Barrasso and committee members Inhofe, Capito, Boozman, Wicker, Fischer, Ernst, Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), sent a letter to David Ross, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assistant administrator for water, regarding overreaching groundwater regulation.

On April 18, 2018, the EPW committee held an oversight hearing on “The Appropriate Role of States and the Federal Government in Protecting Groundwater.” Barrasso’s opening remarks from the hearing, testimony, and witness responses to written questions were included as an addendum to the letter.