Thursday, September 19, 2019

Barrasso amendment limiting EPA authority passes

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY)
The Senate passed Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-WY) amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution on March 25, which prevents the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enacting an expanded regulatory definition of the waters under their control.

Drafted in response to an EPA rule that sought to broaden the definition of “Waters of the United States,” a key phrase in the Clean Waters Act, the Barrasso Amendment creates a reserve fund to limit the EPA’s jurisdiction. It passed 59-40.

“The administration claims it has no intention of using this rule to regulate things like drainage ditches and isolated ponds,” Barrasso said. “My amendment simply holds the administration to their word. This will give our farmers, ranchers and small business owners the certainty and peace of mind they deserve.”

The amendment limits how the EPA determines what waters are connected to waters of the U.S. and does not allow the EPA to base its determinations on animal movements or the movements of water through the ground. It also prevents the Water Pollution Control Act from monitoring puddles, isolated ponds, roadside ditches and wastewater systems.

The amendment was co-sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and 15 other senators.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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