‘Waters of the U.S.’ bill heads to House floor
By Julie Ufner
ASSOCIATE LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR
A bill that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to withdraw the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule within 30 days and to rewrite a new proposed rule after consultation with state and local governments is headed for the House floor within the next several weeks. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 1732) April 15.
H.R. 1732 would require the agencies to document where consensus was reached with state and local governments and where it wasn’t reached, and how the agencies addressed those concerns.
The measure currently has 55 co-sponsors. NACo sent a letter to T&I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) in support of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act.
In April 2014, the EPA and the Corps jointly released a new proposed rule that would amend the definition of Waters of the U.S. within the Clean Water Act and dramatically expand the range of public safety infrastructure that falls under federal permitting authority. Since its publication, NACo has expressed concerns about the scope of the proposed rule and called for it to be withdrawn until further analysis and more in-depth consultation with state and local officials could be completed.
A bipartisan Senate bill that also urges the EPA and Corps to restart the Waters of the U.S. rulemaking process was introduced April 30.
The Waters of the U.S. rule is expected to be finalized within the next several months.