WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES REGULATORY OVERREACH PROTECTION ACT OF 2014
(House of Representatives - September 09, 2014)

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[Pages H7314-H7325]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES REGULATORY OVERREACH PROTECTION ACT OF 2014


                             General Leave

  Mr. SHUSTER. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include 
extraneous materials on H.R. 5078.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 715 and rule 
XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House 
on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 5078.
  The Chair appoints the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) to preside over 
the Committee of the Whole.

                              {time}  1356


                     In the Committee of the Whole

  Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the 
Whole House on the state of the Union for the consideration of the bill 
(H.R. 5078) to preserve existing rights and responsibilities with 
respect to waters of the United States, and for other purposes, with 
Mr. Poe of Texas in the chair.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered read the 
first time.
  The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Shuster) and the gentleman from 
West Virginia (Mr. Rahall) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chair, I yield 2 minutes to the Congressman from 
Florida (Mr. Southerland), who is the original sponsor of H.R. 5078, 
the

[[Page H7315]]

Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act.
  I think it is a thoughtful piece of legislation.
  Mr. SOUTHERLAND. Mr. Chair, I appreciate the efforts of you and 
Ranking Member Rahall, and those efforts, how they have advanced this 
bipartisan piece of legislation. I would also like to thank 
Subcommittee Chairman Gibbs for giving this issue the urgent attention 
that it deserves.
  For more than 40 years, America's waters have been made cleaner and 
safer by a balanced regulatory partnership between the States and the 
Federal Government. The basis for this partnership was a commonsense 
understanding that not all waters are subject to Federal jurisdiction 
and that the States must have the primary responsibility for regulating 
waters within their own boundaries.
  But, now, decades of success have been put at risk under the guise of 
clarifying the scope of the Federal jurisdiction.
  Under its proposed rules, Federal agencies like the EPA and the Army 
Corps of Engineers would see their regulatory authority under the Clean 
Water Act drastically expanded, to the point of covering almost any 
body of water throughout America, from ditches to culverts to pipes to 
watersheds to farmland ponds.
  This would have devastating consequences on virtually every major 
section of our economy, including farming, construction, manufacturing, 
transportation, and energy development.
  That is why I have introduced H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United 
States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014. Our bipartisan bill 
draws a line in the sand that preserves the critical Federal-State 
partnership in place today.
  By preventing the EPA and the Corps of Engineers from finalizing or 
implementing the proposed rule, we are providing a safeguard against 
the Federal Government's overreach into regulatory decisions best made 
by officials at the State and local levels.
  We are also requiring the EPA and the Corps to consult with the State 
and local officials to form a consensus proposal on the scope of the 
future water regulations under the Clean Water Act.
  This bill is not anti-environment. It is not anti-clean water. Our 
bill preserves the partnership we have had in place for years to 
strengthen the health of our waterways and manage our water quality, 
and it does so in a way that maintains certainty for our job creators.

                              {time} 1400

  For these reasons, I urge all of my colleagues to support this 
bipartisan bill.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 5078.
  In proposing its latest version of regulations defining ``waters of 
the United States,'' the EPA claims to be attempting to provide 
clarity. It claims to be attempting to provide certainty for multitudes 
of Americans who have been left perplexed by Clean Water Act 
jurisdiction for many years.
  Without a doubt, confusing and conflicting Supreme Court decisions 
have helped to create a regulatory jumble. But the EPA's proposed new 
regulations are doing little, if anything, to clear and calm those 
murky and roiling regulatory waters.
  These proposed regulations have only stirred up more worry, 
aggravation, and, frankly, anger. In truth, the only certainty that 
these regulations provide is the sure knowledge that, under them, 
anyone undertaking nearly any activity involving so much as a ditch in 
the United States will have to deal with the bureaucracy known as the 
EPA.
  I stand here today voicing the sheer dread and utter frustration of 
enterprises and individuals across southern West Virginia--from coal 
miners and coal mining families to farmers and farming families to 
builders and businesses, large and small. We have seen firsthand how 
this EPA uses its limited legal authorities to drive a broad and 
growing ideological agenda. We have seen this EPA use permits to 
threaten our coal industry, browbeat our State, and elbow out other 
federal agencies. And we have witnessed this EPA's cold and callous 
disregard for how its politically driven agenda is affecting the lives 
of hardworking West Virginia families.
  The proposed regulations concerning ``waters of the United States'' 
certainly amount to an expansion of EPA's reach into waters never 
before envisioned by the Congress to be subject to the Clean Water Act. 
They would stake out Federal Government oversight of areas long 
reserved to the States. If implemented, they would entail more than a 
power grab; they would result in a land grab, enabling EPA to dictate 
to more and more citizens just how they can use their own property.
  I stand with our coal miners, our farmers, our builders, and our 
manufacturers. Our citizens need--and certainly they are owed--clarity 
and certainty. For the EPA to claim that these proposed regulations 
answer that need, well, one has to wonder just what is in the water 
over at the EPA headquarters.
  I support the pending measure, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, it is now my honor to yield 1-1/2 minutes 
to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Gibbs), the chairman of the Water 
Resources Subcommittee.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of H.R. 5078, the Waters 
of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014.
  Mr. Chairman, I have serious concerns about the administration's 
proposal to redefine the scope of jurisdiction under the Clean Water 
Act and the unilateral approach the agencies took developing this rule. 
The agencies' attempt to expand their jurisdiction under the Clean 
Water Act will have serious consequences for the Nation's economy, 
threaten jobs, and restrict landowners from making decisions about 
their property.
  In my subcommittee hearing earlier this year, we discovered that the 
EPA could not identify a single State that supports this rule. Under 
the Clean Water Act, the States are supposed to act as coregulators 
with the Federal Government, and this partnership has enjoyed much 
success over the years. It is unfortunate that the agencies have chosen 
to take a closed-door approach to this rulemaking instead of engaging 
in a proper and transparent process working with their State 
counterparts.
  Mr. Chairman, H.R. 5078 will put an end to the EPA's overreach and 
will ensure that any new rule is adopted openly and responsibly, and 
takes into consideration the concerns of the State, local governments, 
and other stakeholders. Mr. Chairman, I strongly urge all Members to 
support this bipartisan bill.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I am very honored at this time to yield 4 
minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Bishop), the distinguished 
ranking member of our Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment 
on our Transportation Committee, although we are not in full agreement 
on this measure.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend and our 
ranking member from West Virginia for yielding and for his leadership 
on the T&I Committee.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 5078. Last session, 
the Republican majority pushed through a rider to the Energy and Water 
Appropriations bill to block this administration from using Agency 
guidance to clarify how they would interpret two confusing decisions of 
the U.S. Supreme Court that called into question the protections of the 
Clean Water Act over our Nation's waters.
  At that time, the Republican majority claimed that this use of 
administration guidance was unprecedented and in violation of the law, 
notwithstanding the fact that the previous administration followed the 
exact same process in issuing two guidance documents which, 
coincidentally, remain in force today. In fact, it is these two Bush-
era guidance documents that have compounded the confusion, uncertainty, 
and increased compliance costs faced by our constituents today.
  But don't take my word on this. Let me quote from some of the 
comments made in opposition to the Bush-era guidance. According to the 
American Farm Bureau Federation and others:

       With no clear regulatory definitions to guide their 
     determinations, what has emerged is a hodgepodge of ad hoc 
     and inconsistent jurisdictional theories.


[[Page H7316]]


  Again, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation and others:

       The Bush administration guidance is causing confusion and 
     added delays in an already burdened and strained permit 
     decisionmaking process, which ultimately will result, and is 
     resulting, in increased delays and costs to the public at 
     large.

  Finally, according to the Waters Advocacy Coalition:

       Until a comprehensive set of rules regarding which water 
     bodies the agencies will regulate is promulgated, the public 
     and Agency field staff will be beleaguered by partial 
     answers, confusing standards, and ad hoc, overbroad, and 
     arbitrary decisions pertaining to the scope of Federal 
     jurisdiction.

  In April of 2011, over 150 Members of this House wrote to the 
Environmental Protection Agency and to the Corps requesting that a 
proposed guidance document of the Obama administration be reconsidered. 
In that letter, these Members suggested:

       If the administration seeks to make regulatory changes to 
     the Clean Water Act, a notice-and-comment rulemaking is 
     required.

  In the intervening months, this is exactly what the administration 
has done. In 2012, the administration chose to withdraw the proposed 
2011 guidance document and instead pursued a notice-and-comment 
rulemaking to address much of the confusion, uncertainty, and increased 
costs surrounding the scope of the Clean Water Act protections.
  However, many of these same Members who asked for a formal rulemaking 
are now vehemently opposed to this rulemaking going forward. I have to 
ask why? Are these Members opposed to providing greater clarity on the 
scope of Federal Clean Water Act protections? Are they opposed to 
trying to reduce the confusion and uncertainty facing our regulated 
communities while at the same time trying to ensure that our network of 
waters and wetlands are protected from pollution or destruction?
  Opponents of this rulemaking are trying to portray this as a Federal 
attempt to regulate birdbaths, puddles, and driveways, but both common 
sense and the testimony of representatives of the EPA and the Corps 
before our committee would confirm that these were never subject to 
Clean Water Act jurisdiction, nor would they be subject to the act 
under the administration's proposed rule.
  In short, this is not a debate about the Federal Government trying to 
regulate someone's backyard birdbath, but it is about ensuring that 
those waters and wetlands that provide hundreds of millions of 
Americans with their drinking water, provide vital protection to our 
towns and communities, and provide valuable habitat to our native fish 
and wildlife are protected.

  Mr. Chairman, to be fair, several of my own constituents have 
expressed concern with the substance of the proposed rule. I have 
listened to their concerns, and I have pressed the Agency witnesses who 
have appeared before our subcommittee on several critical areas. I have 
questioned the agencies to ensure that the scope of the proposed rule 
lives solely within the confines of the two Supreme Court decisions on 
this matter; otherwise, such changes would require an act of Congress.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. RAHALL. I yield the gentleman an additional 1 minute.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Chairman, I have asked for Agency 
assurance that this proposed rule does not expand the scope of the 
Clean Water Act jurisdiction over what was covered by prior rulings of 
the Supreme Court. Again, I have been assured that this is the case.
  I have asked the Agency staff to clarify that these proposed rules do 
not eliminate any existing statutory or regulatory exemptions for 
agriculture, including activities on prior converted cropland. Again, 
we have been assured by the Agency that all of the existing exemptions 
for farming, silviculture, and ranching in the current Clean Water Act 
and regulations remain in place.
  In my view, this is not a perfect proposed rule--few are--but it does 
establish a reasonable process for providing additional clarity on 
Clean Water Act protections that we desire. To suggest that the 
solution is to simply throw out this proposed rule and to forever leave 
the regulated community with the current regulatory morass simply makes 
no sense.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge a ``no'' vote on H.R. 5078. I thank the ranking 
member for his indulgence.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, it is now my honor to yield 1 minute to 
the gentlewoman from Michigan (Mrs. Miller), the chair of the House 
Administration Committee.
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Chairman, recently, I met with about 600 
farmers at an annual gathering in my district which we call Dinner on 
the Farm, where local farmers express their concerns over the negative 
impact EPA's proposed regulations would have on their businesses.
  The Michigan Farm Bureau actually showed me this map of my district 
which shows what could be subject to Federal regulation if the proposed 
EPA rule is actually adopted. And highlighted are the water sources 
that would be impacted. It actually excludes wetlands because then it 
would cover my entire district, including just about anything that 
includes moisture.
  Mr. Chairman, this is another shocking example of this administration 
trying to do an end run around the Congress and the legislative process 
with more overreaching regulations that will drive up food prices for 
American families.
  By stopping the EPA from expanding their scope and requiring the 
Agency to coordinate with States, this legislation will help to protect 
this Nation's agricultural community from Federal overreach that 
threatens their livelihood and ultimately this Nation's economic 
success.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. DeFazio), a very valued member of our committee. He is also 
the ranking member of the Committee on Natural Resources.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. It is unfortunate that we are here today. We have 
departed from reality, which would be the districts we represent, where 
I just spent 5 weeks, and now we are back inside the Beltway. And we 
are doing things in this case that we know will never become law, but 
we do have an opportunity actually to do something real and allay the 
concerns--legitimate concerns--of farmers, ranchers, and others who 
feel that the EPA is either overreaching or has written a somewhat 
garbled rule. I would agree with that.
  But instead of approaching it in a measured way and saying we want to 
be certain that you are not doing this, and we want to be certain that 
you are doing this, this would say that anything and everything that 
they have considered over the last 2 years in developing this rule is 
now ineligible for future consideration. Well, what does that mean? 
Well, it means that the determination that certain things are exempt, 
well, we probably can't revisit those. Can we use the Court's decision 
or any of those documents? Seems not.
  So where do we end up if this cockamamy thing passes the House and 
becomes law--which it won't? Well, where we end up is back in the 
earlier era of the 2003 and 2008 guidances. And many of the groups that 
are here today supporting this unbelievably broad overreach are 
actually groups who had objected strenuously to what the Bush 
administration did in the 2003 guidance and the 2008 guidance.
  Here is a quote from the American Farm Bureau, 2003:

       No clear regulatory definitions to guide their 
     determinations. What has emerged is a hodgepodge of ad hoc 
     and inconsistent jurisdictional theories.

  2008, American Farm Bureau:

       Guidance is causing confusion, added delays in an already 
     burdened and strained permit decisionmaking process which 
     ultimately will result and is resulting in increased delays 
     and costs to the public at large.

  Then, on the other side, groups such as the National Wildlife 
Federation and Ducks Unlimited also found the objections of the 2003 
and 2008 guidances to be totally inadequate, and, of course, the 
Supreme Court itself split 4-1-4 on one of the guiding documents behind 
this.

                              {time}  1415

  So instead of wading in, rolling up your sleeves, and acting like 
legislators, you are acting like idiot ideologues here today. You are 
saying nothing that was considered in developing this rule can ever be 
used again

[[Page H7317]]

to develop a future rule. What does that mean? That means you are stuck 
with a 2003-2008 guidance, which all these groups found to be 
disturbingly inconsistent, expensive, causing unnecessary delays, and 
we need new guidance. We do need new guidance. We do need new 
definition.
  There are some who have the agenda of wanting to repeal the Clean 
Water Act altogether. Let's go back to the good old days, when you 
could light a match and watch the Cuyahoga River burn or when the 
Willamette River in Oregon was an open sewer. Let's go back to those 
good old days before the Clean Water Act.
  No, I don't think the American people want to go there, and I don't 
think a majority in this House want to go there, but instead of fixing 
and limiting the problems and the potential defects of this incompetent 
rulemaking that is ongoing and is, at this point, only proposed, 
perhaps the Agency itself will wake up and withdraw and revise the 
rule.
  That is what public comment periods are all about; but no, we are 
going to preempt it before then and say nothing that went into 
developing this rule can ever be considered again in developing another 
rule. You are stuck with something that doesn't work, which these same 
groups object to.
  It is just very sad that we are aren't a legislative body anymore. 
You take someone who has got a tough race, you give them a bill, they 
go out and rah-rah-rah, they pretend they did something, and they go 
home and get reelected, instead of really doing something.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I urge the gentleman from Oregon to go 
back and read the second part of the bill--the last half of the bill. 
He may find a little different perspective on it.
  With that, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from West Virginia 
(Mrs. Capito).
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the chairman of the full 
committee and the ranking member as well.
  I stand in strong support of H.R. 5078 because it represents another 
administration overreach that will impact our entire economy. Under the 
vague regulation proposed by the EPA and the Corps, Federal power will 
grow and tie up our agriculture, construction, and energy industries in 
even more red tape.
  Expanding the scope of Federal jurisdiction will require many more 
Clean Air permits, which will mean more permitting delays, and more 
permitting delays means fewer jobs.
  During the August recess, I traveled all across the State of West 
Virginia and met with farmers who were particularly concerned, 
construction workers, miners, and many others, who are very, very upset 
about the EPA's regulatory assault that is costing us West Virginia 
jobs.
  We should support this bill today, reject this proposed rule, and 
send Federal officials back to the drawing board to work with State and 
local leaders on a jurisdictional water rule that makes sense for our 
economy and our environment.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I am very happy at this time to yield 2 
minutes to the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Peterson), a strong 
supporter, the cosponsor of this legislation, original cosponsor of it, 
and the ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture.
  Mr. PETERSON. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman.
  I rise today in strong support of H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United 
States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act.
  As others have said, H.R. 5078 would prohibit the EPA and the Army 
Corps of Engineers from redefining waters of the United States under 
the Clean Water Act.
  The bill would also prohibit implementation of the interpretive rule 
for agriculture which, while it probably was meant to provide some 
clarity to farmers and ranchers, only creates more confusion and is bad 
for agriculture.
  This legislation is necessary because, in my view, the EPA does not 
seem to understand the real world effects that these regulations will 
have on farmers across the country.
  We still don't have any clear definition of a wetland in agriculture, 
an issue that is dating back to the eighties and nineties. Maps used by 
the USDA were unclear then and often mislabeled wetlands. This rule 
would not clarify it. It would only add more to the uncertainty that we 
are facing in that regard.
  In my State, the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service has 
done a great job working with farmers to encourage voluntary 
conservation efforts. This rule would severely disrupt those positive 
efforts.
  I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, can I inquire as to how much time is 
remaining on each side?
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Pennsylvania has 24\1/2\ minutes 
remaining. The gentleman from West Virginia has 16\1/2\ minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
  I now yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
Barletta).
  (Mr. BARLETTA asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. BARLETTA. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the bill.
  For 4 decades, the Clean Water Act has worked as a strong partnership 
between the Federal Government and the States. This bill protects that 
partnership against the proposed rule from the EPA and the Army Corps 
of Engineers.
  I have heard from many of my constituents that this rule would force 
them to prove that large mud puddles and ditches on their property are 
not federally regulated waters.
  However, the new definition of Federal waters is so vague that it is 
impossible to know what standards you will need to prove. This rule 
will cost my constituents time, money, and jobs.
  Mr. Chairman, I support this bill because sometimes a mud puddle is 
just a mud puddle.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, at this time, it is my pleasure to yield 4 
minutes to the gentlelady from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur), a very powerful lady 
on the Committee on Appropriations, the ranking member on Energy and 
Water Development.
  Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I thank the ranking member, Mr. Rahall, for 
his great leadership and consider it a privilege to speak today.
  Let me inform this House why it should vote down this death bill--
yes, death bill.
  This is a jar of algae, toxic to humans and animals. It was just 
drawn from Lake Erie, one of our great freshwater lakes, a drinking 
source for some 11 million people.
  On August 2, this green muck filled with toxic microcystin surrounded 
the Toledo drinking water intake, leaving over half a million people 
with no safe drinking water for 3 days. It almost seemed surreal. One 
of America's biggest cities and regions with no fresh drinking water.
  Now, the region that our watershed drains is 85 percent agricultural. 
How fortunate we are. In fact, it is the largest watershed in the 
entire Great Lakes, but allowing farm field runoff of manures and 
fertilizers, applied at four times the rate of 20 years ago, with 
excessive phosphorous and nitrogen that feed the growth of this green 
muck, is simply no longer acceptable.
  The number of people who live in our tristate watershed totals 2 
million, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and of course, with Canada even more; 
but the number of animals in the watershed is 10 to 15 times the human 
population. The manure load of those animals--compared to 20 years 
ago--spread on the land, even in the wintertime, contributes, with 
increasing rainfall, to the pollution that then drains to places like 
Toledo.
  Utility rates are going up--what are they going to do? How are they 
going to afford the bills to pay to clean up the pollution from a 
massive tristate and, indeed, international watershed?
  Instead of helping clean up our water for future generations, this 
Republican bill takes America backwards. Do you know what I say? Shame 
on you. Shame on you.
  Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recognizes 
that harmful algal blooms are a major environmental problem in all 50 
States, with severe impacts on human health.
  The Toledo water plant and what happened to us is a severe warning 
for our country, and we better pay attention. Communities are incurring 
massive costs for water treatment as a result of pollution and toxic 
algae because our water plants have to somehow clean this mess up and 
then send

[[Page H7318]]

fresh drinking water to our citizens. These costs are being paid not by 
the polluters, but by the ratepayers downstream at the receiving end of 
the muck--how unfair.
  I am back here in Washington, fighting for our lake. Our citizens 
must turn this green muck back into blue water to sustain life itself. 
One of the ways we start is by defeating this bill. It is an 
embarrassment to the country at this point in our history.
  I can tell you, to the people who still don't know what their future 
holds in places like Toledo and along Lake Erie, I urge my colleagues 
to oppose this bill. Reject the dead water direction in which it leads 
America because it isn't just this generation, but it is those that 
follow that we should be voting for here in this House. I urge defeat 
of this measure.
  I want to thank Congressman Rahall and those who understand what it 
takes to build a great nation. Let us do something worthy in our time 
and generation.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Oklahoma (Mr. Mullin).
  Mr. MULLIN. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 5078.
  As you have heard from many Members today, the EPA's proposed rule is 
a clear overstep of authority. Back in my home State of Oklahoma, 
ranchers and farmers have been very clear that this rule would 
significantly limit their operations.
  As a rancher myself, I understand and agree with their concerns. The 
definition of ``navigable waters,'' as stated and written by the EPA, 
would put all farmers and ranchers on notice that they are no longer in 
charge of their own land. From now on, they will have to ask permission 
to get a permit or to operate their own land the same way they have for 
many years.
  In summary, this would be an unprecedented land grab by our 
government through the EPA and the bureaucrats of Washington, D.C. The 
EPA is simply out of touch with rural America.
  I stand with our farmers and our ranchers when I say it is time to 
stop the EPA's overreach and their redefinition of navigable waters.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, at this time, I am happy to yield 4 minutes 
to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Moran), who is leaving this august 
body, but certainly, we will continue to rely upon his wisdom and 
friendship, wisdom that is except on this particular bill, the ranking 
member of the Subcommittee on Interior and Environment on the Committee 
on Appropriations.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank my good friend from West 
Virginia, and I understand where we sit is where we stand. The 
gentleman has always been in the forefront of protecting his citizens 
in West Virginia and his workforce, including the mine workers of West 
Virginia, and I fully understand that, but nevertheless, I rise in 
opposition to this regressive legislation.
  With very few days remaining before this Chamber adjourns, we are 
wasting what limited floor time remains debating a legislative proposal 
that this Chamber has already passed and the Senate has rejected.
  Today, we will be voting for the 218th time--the 218th time this 
session--to weaken existing laws that protect our health and the 
environment that we depend upon.
  Later this week, we will vote for the 53rd time to weaken the 
Affordable Care Act, which the American people are beginning to realize 
is actually working on their behalf.
  None of these measures that have passed this session or will pass the 
House this week will become law. The President has already said if it 
passes, he will veto it, and my friend knows that. In fact, he reminded 
me. We know he is going to veto that if it were to pass, so you would 
think this is kind of a misguided and wasteful use of this institution.
  We are planning on only 6 full legislative days before the election, 
and we are using one of those days on such a fruitless exercise. How 
about addressing the problems at our border or passing an extension of 
unemployment benefits or even passing a budget, which is one of our 
most basic responsibilities?
  Instead of doing something useful and productive that might become 
law, we will again vote on a measure to prevent the Corps of Engineers 
and the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing their joint 
proposed rule clarifying the limits of Federal jurisdiction under the 
Clean Water Act.

                              {time}  1430

  This is what the Supreme Court instructed us to do. This rule is 
necessary. It is our responsibility. EPA and the Corps of Engineers 
need to clarify their authority because there is a lot of confusion on 
what falls under the protection of the Clean Water Act following two 
Supreme Court rulings.
  Clarity will also help the States that use the Federal definition to 
operate their State water protection programs. Ninety percent of what 
the EPA does is in fact carried out by the States.
  The proposed rule clarifies that most seasonal and rain-dependent 
streams are not affected. Wetlands near rivers and streams are not 
included. Other types of waters that may have more uncertain 
connections with downstream water will be evaluated through a case-
specific analysis of whether the connection is or is not significant. 
EPA and the Corps have encouraged recommendations from the public for 
how best to determine whether a water body has a significant connection 
to downstream waters.
  My colleagues, an estimated 59 percent of all stream miles in the 
lower 48 States fall into the category of intermittent or ephemeral--
they don't exist for part of the year--yet they receive 40 percent of 
all individual wastewater discharges. That is what the problem is. More 
than 117 million Americans get some of their drinking water from these 
very streams that don't flow year-round. Shouldn't their drinking water 
be safe from toxic elements?
  If this measure were to be enacted, it would only ensure that the 
confusion continues and that these sources of drinking water remain a 
serious risk to the public's health. That is why I urge my colleagues 
to oppose this bill.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, it is now my pleasure to yield 1 minute to 
the gentleman from California (Mr. McCarthy), the Republican leader.
  Mr. McCARTHY of California. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, I rise today against an unlawful expansion of Federal 
power. The EPA's attempt at an unprecedented power grab will ultimately 
saddle hardworking Americans, small businesses, and farmers with new, 
onerous regulatory burdens.
  Under this proposed new rule, the EPA will be able to claim 
jurisdiction over almost all bodies of water in the U.S. So, along with 
the bays and rivers, EPA's hand will extend over streams, ponds, 
ditches, and even storm water runoff. Beyond sounding ridiculous, this 
rule will impact farmers, energy producers, and any private citizens 
that use their land for economic or recreational purposes. It is 
harmful and unnecessary.
  I live in the West. The West is burdened right now with the drought. 
Some of that drought is based upon excess regulations that choose fish 
over people, and that water will run out to the ocean because of a 
regulation and a lawsuit.
  I have seen where regulatory effects and burdens have gone before. I 
have a town in my community called Taft. It is a hardworking town like 
many of you have. The EPA has been a part of it before. It is a town 
that could be anywhere in America.
  Taft had a waterway, the EPA said, called Sandy Creek. The only 
challenge, though, in Sandy Creek is it was a dry ditch. It had been 
dry for 30 years. So when they came to me and they wanted to be able to 
move forward, they found that the Federal Government was trying to 
impose a permitting regulation of excess regulation on this private 
land. I had to personally call them, and they said: No, you cannot do 
it because of the creek. I had to drive an individual all the way out 
to the dry dirt and sit them in the dry creekbed until finally they 
said ``yes.''
  Under the new bill, Sandy Creek will not be dry anymore because that 
burdensome regulation can possibly be back on them. It could be 
redesignated, and we will not be able to grow again.
  Mr. Chairman, we are struggling with job creation in America. We are 
struggling with small businesses trying to make ends meet. Milk prices 
are at an alltime high. Why would we burden

[[Page H7319]]

America with more regulation? Why would we not unshackle what holds us 
back and let us be able to grow and let people keep their private land 
and protect our water, but do it in a sense that has common sense?
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I am happy to yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Enyart), who is on the Agriculture 
Committee and an original sponsor of the legislation. He has been of 
tremendous help in moving this forward.
  Mr. ENYART. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, today I rise in support of this legislation and to 
share my concern about overreaching jurisdiction in the proposed 
rulemaking expanding the reach of the EPA and the Army Corps of 
Engineers.
  I have spent the last 5 weeks talking to constituents in my district, 
meeting with landowners, and discussing legislation with my agriculture 
advisory committing, talking to leaders from small communities and 
large cities alike.
  Again and again, I hear the same thing: southern Illinoisans believe 
the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA went too far rewriting the 
Federal Government's jurisdiction over waters of the United States. The 
Federal Government is claiming to have jurisdiction over small private 
property waterways.
  The biggest concerns voiced by constituents were over the new areas 
that would become waters of the U.S. Under the proposed rule, many 
ditches, small ponds, and low spots in fields could be considered 
within the purview of the Federal Government.
  Farmers and growers already protect their waters. They need it for 
livestock, orchards, soybean fields, and cornfields. Our Nation's 
farmers are the first conservationists of our time.
  Additionally, I am further concerned about the lack of scientific 
analysis and economic outlook used to determine the scope of 
jurisdiction. Our farmers, land owners, communities, and our country's 
waterways deserve better planning than this. They deserve detailed 
studies and thoughtful execution. Our constituents sent us to 
Washington to keep their best interests in mind, not to pile on more 
red tape in a blanket fashion.
  I urge you to join me and take into consideration those who will be 
affected by the proposed expansion of the EPA and the Corps' power.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, it is now my pleasure to yield 1 minute to 
the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Rodney Davis).
  Mr. RODNEY DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Chairman, the EPA is at it again, 
this time with an overly burdensome rule that would expand their reach 
and power to regulate under the Clean Water Act.
  I have heard from roadbuilders, homebuilders, and small businesses 
who are concerned about this overreach. In particular, farmers in my 
district are very concerned that this rule could add new permitting 
requirements for farming activities like irrigation ponds and drainage 
ditches.
  That is right. The EPA, which is the same Agency that inexplicably 
released the personal information of livestock producers, is now 
telling farmers ``just trust us'' when it comes to this new rule. There 
is a trust gap between the EPA and the agricultural community. One of 
my priorities is trying to bridge that gap.

  Instead of this proposed rule, the EPA and the Corps of Engineers 
should engage with States and local governments to produce a more 
commonsense approach to regulating our waterways.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bill, the WOTUS Regulatory 
Overreach Protection Act.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. It is now my pleasure to yield 1 minute to the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Jolly).
  Mr. JOLLY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this legislation and in 
opposition to the EPA's Waters of the U.S. Act.
  I represent Pinellas County, Florida, a district that lies between 
the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, surrounded by water and prone to 
flooding and storm runoff. So, like many coastal communities, this is 
an important issue to us.
  EPA issues can be divisive--we know that--but they need not be. My 
message today is not one of anger. It is simple common sense. We can do 
better. The EPA can do better and the Corps can do better.
  This is not a debate over clean water. Everybody in this body 
supports clean water. But this is a debate over the expanded 
jurisdiction of a Federal Agency and the current overreach of that 
Agency. In this case, this legislation is opposed by a variety of 
interests, from agriculture, shopping centers, chambers, homebuilders, 
manufacturers, transportation interests, but very importantly, by 
counties and mayors like many in my district who spoke to me in August.
  We are called as Members of this body to represent our communities. 
Let's do that today. Let's represent the interests of our communities. 
This is not a moment for ``Washington knows best,'' because Washington 
does not know best in this case.
  Mr. Chairman, we can do better. In this case, let's send it back and 
insist on a better rule.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, it is now my pleasure to yield 1\1/2\ 
minutes to the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Lucas), the chairman of the 
Agriculture Committee.
  Mr. LUCAS. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of H.R. 5078, the 
Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act.
  The Environmental Protection Agency is once again seeking to overstep 
its authority, and we are here to remind them of the balance of powers.
  This year, EPA proposed a rule to redefine the waters of the United 
States under the Clean Water Act. This rule expands Federal control of 
land and water resources across the Nation. This rule would trigger an 
onslaught of additional permitting and regulatory requirements to 
protect not our great natural resources but, rather, our backyard ponds 
and agricultural ditches.
  These requirements would extend to every landowner, farmer, and 
rancher. What this means for farmers and ranchers is that their normal 
business activities for the production of food would be subject to even 
more permitting requirements or faced with penalties. Traditional 
conservation guidelines which were once voluntary will become mandatory 
or the farmer will be subject to fines and vulnerable to lawsuits.
  In this rulemaking, EPA assumes discretion never intended or granted 
by Congress through which Federal agencies would be empowered to make 
decisions, and those decisions could be made in an arbitrary fashion.
  H.R. 5078 blocks the Agency from finalizing, implementing, and 
enforcing this rule. It preserves States' rights, ensures the Obama 
administration consults States and local officials on any future 
proposal to regulate and protect our Nation's waters under the Clean 
Water Act.
  Protecting our natural resources is a noble cause and one that the 
agricultural community stands solidly behind, but this proposal is an 
underhanded way to harm American agriculture and threaten America's 
food security.
  Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this 
bill.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Nebraska (Mr. Terry).
  Mr. TERRY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in favor of this bill and against the 
EPA's ditch rule.
  If this rule were to go forward, two things would assuredly occur: 
less clarity of what waters are jurisdictional under the Clean Water 
Act for our farmers and ranchers, and more overreach of jurisdiction by 
the EPA.
  This rule joins a long list of initiatives undertaken by the Agency 
which would increase the regulatory burden on Nebraska's farmers, 
ranchers, businesses, and everyday citizens.
  In my State, multiple organizations banded together to fight this 
rule. The group calls itself Common Sense Nebraska Coalition. It 
includes folks that you would expect, such as farmers and ranchers, but 
what is interesting is that so many others have heard about this and 
joined in the fight, including the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, 
Nebraska Bankers Association, county officials, resource districts, the 
Water Resources Association, homebuilders, general contractors, and the 
Rural Electric Association. They have all joined in this cause because 
of its uncertainty and massive jurisdiction under the EPA.

[[Page H7320]]

  My State supports this bill, and I stand proudly with them.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas (Mr. Smith), former chairman of the Judiciary Committee and 
now a member of the Science and Technology Committee.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. First of all, let me thank the chairman of the 
Transportation Committee, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
Shuster), for yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, Science Committee investigations revealed that the EPA 
prepared State maps that show the widespread impact of their proposed 
regulations. As you can see by the colored areas on this map, the EPA 
plans to regulate nearly every square inch on the map. More detailed 
maps of every State can be found on our Science Committee's Web site, 
science.house.gov.
  The EPA's rewriting of the law is an unprecedented expansion of 
Federal control over Americans' private property, and these maps make 
that clear. The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach 
Protection Acts stops the EPA and protects Americans from the 
President's drive to regulate private property.

                              {time}  1445

  I thank the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Southerland) for taking the 
initiative on this bill, and I thank the chairman again for yielding me 
time. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from West Virginia has 6\1/2\ minutes 
remaining, and the gentleman from Pennsylvania has 16 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, it is now my pleasure to yield 1 minute to 
the gentleman from New York (Mr. Collins).
  Mr. COLLINS of New York. I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for 
yielding.
  Mr. Chairman, expanding the scope of ``waters of the United States'' 
is a dangerous expansion of authority strongly opposed by the farmers 
in my western New York district.
  In May, I led a bipartisan letter with Mr. Schrader of Oregon, 
supported by a majority of this House, asking the EPA and the Army 
Corps of Engineers to withdraw this overreaching rule.
  EPA officials have testified that they realize this rule, as drafted, 
is confusing and needs modification, but they have refused to withdraw 
the rule and start over.
  I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 5078, the 
bipartisan legislation that will address this problem.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, it is now my pleasure to yield 1 minute to 
the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Yoho).
  Mr. YOHO. Mr. Chairman, I want to congratulate my friend and 
colleague, Steve Southerland, for crafting the Waters of the United 
States bill, this important piece of legislation.
  Mr. Chairman, I have heard from farmers, ranchers, contractors and 
even homeowners across my district and across this country. They have 
had enough of regulatory overreach by the administration and the EPA.
  As many of my colleagues have already stated, this bill will stop 
this administration from using a pen and a phone to unfairly target 
those who are our greatest stewards of our land, the farming and 
ranching families of this country.
  I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation. Government 
should facilitate businesses, not hinder them.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Indiana (Mr. Stutzman).
  Mr. STUTZMAN. I thank Chairman Shuster for bringing the Waters of the 
United States Regulatory Overreach and Protection Act to this body.
  Mr. Chairman, this administration has continually tried to expand the 
role of the Federal Government in the everyday lives of American 
families, and now the EPA wants to regulate almost all bodies of water 
throughout the country, including ditches, pipes, and even farmland 
ponds.
  After meeting with many of my constituents back home throughout the 
month of August, I know that my fellow farmers, whom I sat with in 
Indiana, and those of any other State don't want or need more 
regulatory overreach from Washington, D.C.
  From irrigation for crops to water for livestock, farmers feed us and 
the world with this precious resource. This legislation is an 
opportunity to maintain the relationship between local and Federal 
officials already established in the Clean Water Act.
  I would like to thank Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member Rahall, and 
the rest of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for their 
hard work on this issue. I urge my colleagues to support this very 
important bill for rural America.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from California (Mr. LaMalfa).
  Mr. LaMALFA. I appreciate the chairman yielding me time here today on 
this very important measure.
  We have seen the EPA now trying to claim jurisdiction over virtually 
every body of water in the United States, puddle or not, navigable or 
not, manmade or natural, year-round or just even seasonal. In order to 
protect these waters, the EPA claims it needs to control vast amounts 
of land surrounding these waters.
  Now, the residents of my district in northern California are already 
familiar with this type of regulatory act. In California, the EPA is 
already ignoring clear exemptions for farming activities that have been 
going on for years and years and are even in the law as exempt; this, 
in order to pursue massive fines against family farmers simply for 
changing crops or maintaining their already manmade irrigation systems, 
thus, in the process paralyzing farmers who are waiting months and 
months or even years for EPA or their cohorts in the Army Corps to 
decide these legal activities can continue to go on, otherwise they 
will be subject to huge fines.
  This is form of tyranny that is a gigantic overreach and needs to be 
stopped. That is why I support H.R. 5078 as a way to limit EPA back to 
the proper role of actually watching out for clean waters, not 
regulating to the last drop every water drop in the United States.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Virginia (Mr. Hurt).
  Mr. HURT. Mr. Chairman, today I rise in support of this regulatory 
overreach protection act. I believe that it is safe to say that no one 
has a greater interest in protecting our water resources than our 
Nation's farmers, farmers who depend on clean water for their 
livelihood.
  Just last month, I met with many farmers across Virginia's Fifth 
District who expressed their grave concern about the Federal 
Government's unilateral expansion of the Clean Water Act far beyond 
that intended by Congress. This overreach will add huge costs for our 
farmers and the millions of American families that depend upon them.
  That is why I ask my colleagues to join me today in supporting this 
commonsense, bipartisan bill to stop this administration's sweeping 
overreach on American farms.
  Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Chairman, I want to first commend the chairman of our 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Mr. Shuster, for bringing 
this legislation forward and commend the staff on both sides of the 
aisle for the work in producing this bill. I commend the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Southerland) as well.
  This legislation is truly about giving the American people and giving 
our States a say in what is theirs and in the direction that they wish 
for the people within their borders.
  Much has been said about the homebuilders' support for this bill, the 
contractors' support for this bill, and many, many, many other 
organizations. But I have two quotes here from the National Association 
of Home Builders and the Associated General Contractors.
  These individuals are on the ground. They know what the effect is, 
the day-to-day effect of policy that emanates or regulations that are 
promulgated from our Nation's Capital.
  These are the individuals that provide jobs for our people. As I 
said, they are on the ground, on the front lines every day trying to 
provide those jobs for our people, and in an environmentally sound way, 
I might add, as well.

[[Page H7321]]

  Mr. James Tobin has written Members of Congress on behalf of the 
National Association of Home Builders, and he says, and I quote:

       For home builders, this proposed rule adds confusion and 
     increases the cost and time needed to obtain a Federal 
     wetlands permit prior to home construction. The costs of this 
     rule will increase the price of a home at a time when home 
     construction is beginning to recover from the devastating 
     effects of the economic downturn. Many American families will 
     be priced out of the housing market if this rule is finalized 
     in its current form.

  That hits home. That hits home to the young people of this Nation 
seeking to buy their first-time home. It speaks to those seeking to 
refinance their homes. It speaks to a key sector of our economy that 
provides jobs and provides a future for this country that many of our 
young people are looking to improve.
  The Associated General Contractors has written Members of Congress. 
Their senior executive director, Mr. Jeff Shoaf, has said that we must 
find ``a more predictable definition to clearly differentiate those 
waters that are regulated by the Federal Government from those that 
fall under the jurisdiction of State and local governments.''
  In my opinion, it is time that this EPA recognize that our States do 
have a say in the future of regulations that affect people within their 
borders.
  Unfortunately, we have seen too many instances, as I said in my 
opening comments, where this EPA has overreached. It has reached beyond 
what its legal authority is in trying to promote an ideological agenda 
that is not good for the heartland of America, the true areas that have 
built this country and provided jobs for our people in the past, and 
can provide jobs to a very talented and available workforce that is 
available, if only given a chance to work without further intrusion 
from the EPA.
  So I conclude, and, again, commend my chairman for bringing this bill 
forward, and urge all Members to support the pending legislation.
  Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Chairman, I will conclude and yield myself the 
balance of my time, first, by thanking Mr. Rahall for working with us 
to come forward with a commonsense approach to stopping another grab by 
the executive branch.
  I also want to thank Congressman Steve Southerland from Florida, who 
introduced H.R. 5078. Mr. Southerland has been a leader on the water 
issue since he arrived in Congress.
  As we have been talking about here, and as Mr. Rahall agrees, this 
proposed rule would significantly increase the geographic scope of the 
Federal Government's authority under the act and is outside the bounds 
of what can legitimately be done by the rulemaking.
  It also is going to create great uncertainty within the many 
industries in this country. The rulemaking proposed by the 
administration is yet another example of the disturbing pattern as this 
Presidency seeks to use brute force to expand executive action while 
ignoring Congress and the Supreme Court.
  I would urge all the Members, all 435 Members of this body, to look 
seriously at this piece of legislation and what this administration is 
trying to do. The President tries to grab Congress' legitimate 
constitutional authority. And if you have any doubts on that, the 
Supreme Court, twice, rejected a rulemaking by the EPA.
  I think all 435 of us ought to be looking closely, whether it is a 
Republican or a Democrat administration, at these power grabs by the 
executive branch. It has gone on for far too long, and Congress needs 
to stand up and maintain its constitutional authority.
  This is a massive Federal jurisdiction grab. In the 110th and the 
111th Congresses, there were attempts through various committees and 
through various amendments which were rejected on a bipartisan basis to 
stop this.
  H.R. 5078, introduced by our colleague, Mr. Southerland, simply 
prevents the EPA and the Corps from finalizing the ill-conceived 
proposed rule, and directs the agencies to consult with the States and 
local officials. That is the way forward, going back to our States and 
our local governments.
  They care as much or more about the waters in Pennsylvania and West 
Virginia and California and Oregon than the EPA does. This notion in 
Washington that Washington has the greater concern, that Washington has 
the better idea, the one-size-fits-all, just doesn't work, and it has 
been proven time and time again.
  So again, this stops the administration proceeding. It has a path 
forward. I would urge my colleagues to read all nine pages of this 
bill. If you get to the end, you will see there is a way forward, and 
that is to consult with the States and the locals to come up with a 
consensus rule that can result in reasonable regulatory process that 
protects our waters.
  So, with that, Mr. Chairman, I support this legislation. I urge all 
Members to vote in favor of H.R. 5078, and I yield back the balance of 
my time.
  Mrs. McMORRIS RODGERS. Mr. Chair, I rise today in strong support of 
H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach 
Protection Act of 2014. I commend Chairman Shuster and the members of 
the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for their work on 
this important legislation.
  For over forty years, the quality of our nation's waters has been 
managed through a partnership between individual States and the Federal 
Government. This relationship, established by the Clean Water Act 
(CWA), recognizes that some waters are more effectively regulated by 
local stakeholders and state officials than the Federal Government in 
Washington, DC. This partnership has led to less pollution and cleaner 
water for Eastern Washington and our nation. Despite decades of 
success, the Obama Administration has recently proposed a rule that 
would significantly alter this partnership by increasing Federal 
oversight of our nation's waters.
  The Administration's proposal would dramatically expand the 
definition of ``waters of the United States'' under the CWA, 
potentially placing ditches, drainages, creeks, and even seasonally wet 
areas under Federal jurisdiction. Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued 
an interpretative rule that would increase regulation of our nation's 
farms by narrowing an exemption under the CWA for certain agricultural 
practices. As such, this proposed interpretative rule will negatively 
impact farmers and growers in Eastern Washington and throughout the 
nation.
  I support the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach 
Protection Act of 2014 because it seeks to rein in the Administration's 
overreach into our nation's waters. First, this bill prohibits 
finalization and implementation of the proposed rule expanding Federal 
regulatory authority over bodies of water currently managed by or 
jointly with the States. Additionally, this bill prohibits the 
interpretative rule which expands Federal regulation of our nation's 
agricultural communities. The legislation also requires the EPA and the 
Corps to engage in a ``federalism consultation'' with State and local 
governments to help identify which bodies of water should be federally 
regulated and which should be left to the states. In short, H.R. 5078 
restores the Federal-State partnership envisioned by Congress when it 
passed the CWA.
  I believe regulation of our nation's waters must be done in a manner 
that balances the need to responsibly protect the environment with the 
economic needs of our communities. To that end, I support H.R. 5078 
because it ensures that we can continue to protect our waters without 
unreasonable and burdensome regulation. I urge my colleagues to support 
H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach 
Protection Act of 2014.
  The CHAIR. All time for general debate has expired.
  Pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment 
under the 5-minute rule and shall be considered as read.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 5078

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Waters of the United States 
     Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014''.

     SEC. 2. RULES AND GUIDANCE.

       (a) Identification of Waters Protected by the Clean Water 
     Act.--
       (1) In general.--The Secretary and the Administrator are 
     prohibited from--
       (A) developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, 
     applying, administering, or enforcing--
       (i) the proposed rule described in the notice of proposed 
     rule published in the Federal Register entitled ``Definition 
     of `Waters of the United States' Under the Clean Water Act'' 
     (79 Fed. Reg. 22188 (April 21, 2014)); or
       (ii) the proposed guidance submitted to the Office of 
     Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of 
     Management and Budget for regulatory review under Executive 
     Order 12866, entitled ``Guidance on Identifying

[[Page H7322]]

     Waters Protected By the Clean Water Act'' and dated February 
     17, 2012 (referred to as ``Clean Water Protection Guidance'', 
     Regulatory Identifier Number (RIN) 2040-ZA11, received 
     February 21, 2012); or
       (B) using the proposed rule or proposed guidance described 
     in subparagraph (A), any successor document, or any 
     substantially similar proposed rule or guidance, as the basis 
     for any rulemaking or decision regarding the scope or 
     enforcement of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 
     U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).
       (2) Use of rules and guidance.--The use of the proposed 
     rule or proposed guidance described in paragraph (1)(A), any 
     successor document, or any substantially similar proposed 
     rule or guidance, as the basis for any rulemaking or decision 
     regarding the scope or enforcement of the Federal Water 
     Pollution Control Act shall be grounds for vacating the final 
     rule, decision, or enforcement action.
       (b) Exemption for Certain Agricultural Conservation 
     Practices.--
       (1) In general.--The Secretary and the Administrator are 
     prohibited from developing, finalizing, adopting, 
     implementing, applying, administering, or enforcing the 
     interpretive rule described in the notice of availability 
     published in the Federal Register entitled ``Notice of 
     Availability Regarding the Exemption from Permitting Under 
     Section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Clean Water Act to Certain 
     Agricultural Conservation Practices'' (79 Fed. Reg. 22276 
     (April 21, 2014)).
       (2) Withdrawal.--The Secretary and the Administrator shall 
     withdraw the interpretive rule described in paragraph (1), 
     and such interpretive rule shall have no force or effect.
       (3) Application.--Section 404(f)(1)(A) of the Federal Water 
     Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344(f)(1)(A)) shall be 
     applied without regard to the interpretive rule described in 
     paragraph (1).

     SEC. 3. FEDERALISM CONSULTATION.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary and the Administrator shall 
     jointly consult with relevant State and local officials to 
     develop recommendations for a regulatory proposal that would, 
     consistent with applicable rulings of the United States 
     Supreme Court, identify--
       (1) the scope of waters covered under the Federal Water 
     Pollution Control Act; and
       (2) the scope of waters not covered under such Act.
       (b) Consultation Requirements.--In developing the 
     recommendations under subsection (a), the Secretary and the 
     Administrator shall--
       (1) provide relevant State and local officials with notice 
     and an opportunity to participate in the consultation process 
     under subsection (a);
       (2) seek to consult State and local officials that 
     represent a broad cross-section of regional, economic, and 
     geographic perspectives in the United States;
       (3) emphasize the importance of collaboration with and 
     among the relevant State and local officials;
       (4) allow for meaningful and timely input by State and 
     local officials;
       (5) be respectful of maintaining the Federal-State 
     partnership in implementing the Federal Water Pollution 
     Control Act;
       (6) take into consideration the input of State and local 
     officials regarding matters involving differences in State 
     and local geography, hydrology, climate, legal frameworks, 
     economies, priorities, and needs;
       (7) promote transparency in the consultation process under 
     subsection (a); and
       (8) explore with State and local officials whether Federal 
     objectives under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act can 
     be attained by means other than through a new regulatory 
     proposal.
       (c) Reports.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 12 months after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Secretary and the 
     Administrator shall publish in the Federal Register a draft 
     report describing the recommendations developed under 
     subsection (a).
       (2) Consensus requirement.--The Secretary and the 
     Administrator may include a recommendation in the draft 
     report only if consensus has been reached with regard to the 
     recommendation among the Secretary, the Administrator, and 
     the State and local officials consulted under subsection (a).
       (3) Failure to reach consensus.--If the Secretary, the 
     Administrator, and the State and local officials consulted 
     under subsection (a) fail to reach consensus on a regulatory 
     proposal, the draft report shall identify that consensus was 
     not reached and describe--
       (A) the areas and issues where consensus was reached;
       (B) the areas and issues of continuing disagreement that 
     resulted in the failure to reach consensus; and
       (C) the reasons for the continuing disagreements.
       (4) Duration of review.--The Secretary and the 
     Administrator shall provide not fewer than 180 days for the 
     public review and comment of the draft report.
       (5) Final report.--The Secretary and the Administrator 
     shall, in consultation with the relevant State and local 
     officials, address any comments received under paragraph (4) 
     and prepare a final report describing the final results of 
     the consultation process under subsection (a).
       (d) Submission of Report to Congress.--Not later than 24 
     months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
     and the Administrator shall jointly submit to the Committee 
     on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of 
     Representatives and the Committee on Environment and Public 
     Works of the Senate and make publicly available the final 
     report prepared under subsection (c)(5).

     SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act, the following definitions apply:
       (1) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
     of the Army.
       (2) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
     Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
       (3) State and local officials.--The term ``State and local 
     officials'' means elected or professional State and local 
     government officials or their representative regional or 
     national organizations.

  The CHAIR. No amendment to the bill is in order except those printed 
in House Report 113-581. Each such amendment may be offered only in the 
order printed in the report, by a Member designated in the report, 
shall be considered read, shall be debatable for the time specified in 
the report, equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an 
opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject 
to a demand for division of the question.
  The Chair understands that amendment No. 1 will not be offered.

                              {time}  1500


           Amendment No. 2 Offered by Mr. Bishop of New York

  The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 2 printed in 
House Report 113-581.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.
  The CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       Beginning on page 3, strike line 7 and all that follows 
     through page 4, line 20, and insert the following:
       (a) In General.--The Secretary and the Administrator are 
     prohibited from implementing any final rule that is based on 
     the proposed rule described in the notice of proposed rule 
     published in the Federal Register entitled ``Definition of 
     `Waters of the United States' Under the Clean Water Act'' (79 
     Fed. Reg. 22188 (April 21, 2014)) if such final rule--
       (1) expands the scope of the Federal Water Pollution 
     Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et. seq.) beyond those 
     waterbodies covered prior to the decisions of the U.S. 
     Supreme Court in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County 
     v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (531 U.S. 159 (2001)) and 
     Rapanos v. United States (547 U.S. 715 (2006));
       (2) is inconsistent with the judicial opinions of Justice 
     Scalia or Justice Kennedy in the Rapanos decision;
       (3) increases the regulation of ditches when compared to 
     existing Federal Water Pollution Control Act regulations or 
     guidance;
       (4) eliminates historical statutory or regulatory 
     exemptions for agriculture;
       (5) increases the scope of the Federal Water Pollution 
     Control Act with respect to groundwater;
       (6) requires Federal Water Pollution Control Act regulation 
     of erosional features;
       (7) requires Federal Water Pollution Control Act permits 
     for land-use activities;
       (8) requires Federal Water Pollution Control Act regulation 
     of farm ponds, puddles, water on driveways, birdbaths, or 
     playgrounds;
       (9) is inconsistent with the latest peer-reviewed studies; 
     or
       (10) was promulgated without public notice or comment.

  The CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 715, the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Bishop) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Chairman, my amendment gets to the heart 
of the debate on this proposed rule.
  For months, opponents of the proposed rule have made numerous claims 
about its impacts. Yet, despite numerous efforts by representatives of 
the administration's to answer these claims and to point out how many 
of these claims are simply false, we seem to go around and around, 
again and again, on these allegations. My amendment simply addresses 
these concerns and claims, saying that, if any of them prove to be 
true, then the Secretary and the Administrator are prohibited from 
issuing any final rule that would bring about these occurrences.
  For example, opponents of the proposed rule have claimed that this 
rule expands the scope of the Clean Water Act authority. When asked 
this direct question during our subcommittee hearing, the 
administration's witness stated clearly that the proposed rule ``would 
not assert jurisdiction over any type of waters not previously 
protected over the past 40 years.'' Under my

[[Page H7323]]

amendment, if the administration is proven incorrect, the final rule 
could not be implemented.
  Similarly, opponents have suggested that the rule is inconsistent 
with the rulings and jurisdictional tests outlined by the Supreme 
Court. The administration's witness has testified that this rule is 
consistent with the tests outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court. If my 
amendment is adopted and if the administration is wrong about this 
assertion, then the final rule could not be implemented.
  Opponents of the proposed rule have claimed that the proposed rule 
increases the regulation of ditches. The administration has testified 
that, in fact, it would reduce the scope of jurisdictional ditches that 
are covered by the Bush administration guidance. If my amendment is 
adopted and if the administration is incorrect in this assertion, the 
rule cannot be implemented.
  Opponents contend that, under this rule, individuals would be 
required to have Federal Clean Water Act permits for draining farm 
ponds or for activities in the water on your driveways or your 
birdbaths or puddles in your backyard. The administration has asserted, 
obviously, that these types of waters have never been subject to the 
Clean Water Act, nor would they be under this rulemaking. If somehow 
the administration is wrong about this, under my amendment, the final 
rule could not be implemented.
  Lastly, opponents contend that the rule would eliminate existing 
statutory and regulatory exemptions for agriculture or increase the 
regulation of groundwater or require Federal Clean Water Act permits 
for land-use activities. Yet the administration has time and time again 
testified that these assertions are simply inaccurate. Again, if my 
amendment is adopted and if the administration is incorrect, the final 
rule cannot go forward.
  In my view, this administration has put forward a good faith effort 
to provide additional clarity on the scope of Clean Water Act 
protections for our Nation's waters that are consistent with current 
scientific information as well as the precedent of the Supreme Court. 
While it is not perfect, this rule is far better than the current 
regulatory process that has led to numerous delays, significant 
increases in compliance costs, and greater difficulty in protecting our 
Nation's water resources.
  I urge the adoption of my amendment, and I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to the 
amendment.
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Ohio is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Chairman, I must strongly oppose the gentleman's 
amendment because it seeks to gut this legislation.
  This amendment would allow the administration to go forward and 
finalize its flawed rule, expanding Federal jurisdiction over the Clean 
Water Act if they determine entirely of their own discretion that the 
rule is consistent with the Supreme Court decisions and other factors 
listed in this amendment. Basically, the EPA can self-certify that they 
are ready to move forward.
  This amendment is misleading. The administration has already stated 
that they believe the proposed rule is consistent with the Supreme 
Court decisions and with other factors listed in this amendment. The 
effect of this amendment is to allow the agencies to finalize their 
flawed rule that many believe is not consistent with the Supreme Court 
decisions and other listed factors.
  This amendment would put the U.S. EPA solely in charge of America's 
waters, and it would take away the Federal-State partnership that H.R. 
5078 seeks to preserve. It would allow the EPA to finalize and 
implement the rule without consulting with the States. Let me repeat 
that. It would allow the U.S. EPA to move forward without consulting 
with their counterpart State EPAs.
  In contrast, H.R. 5078 preserves the Federal-State partnership that 
was set up under the Clean Water Act in 1972. This important 
legislation recognizes that the proposed administration rule has 
created controversy, confusion, and discord in the clean water 
regulatory programs. H.R. 5078 calls for a timeout to stop the final 
development of this ill-conceived rule. In addition, it requires that 
the agencies consult with State and local governments to develop a 
consensus rule that will work and protect our water resources.
  As I said during the general debate in our subcommittee, they were 
not able to identify any State regulatory agency that supports this 
proposed rule. That ought to be a red flag to all American people and 
to all of the stakeholders involved.
  As my friend on the other side talked about expansion and 
jurisdiction, I would argue of the proposed rule, if it is not 
necessary, why does the Secretary of Agriculture have to put together 
an interpretive rule when it has been said that agriculture is exempt 
from these practices? Why move forward?
  We don't need this rule. I urge the Members to oppose this amendment 
and support the underlying bill.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Chairman, I yield whatever time I have 
remaining to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio).
  The CHAIR. The gentleman from Oregon is recognized for 2 minutes.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Chairman, remember, should this bill pass and become law, which 
it never will, it will tie us to the 2003-2008 guidance, which the Farm 
Bureau has described as a hodgepodge of ad hoc and inconsistent 
jurisdictional theories, and will result in and is resulting in 
increased delays and costs to the public at large. That is why we are 
here today.
  Everybody agrees that we need clarification, but you are excluding 
them from using the judicial decisions and any document that was used 
in coming up with this problematic rule, and you are saying you can't 
use any of that. So, basically, we are stuck with the 2003-2008 
guidance, which, prior to this grandstanding over here, everybody 
agreed needed to be fixed. Now we are going to be stuck with it 
forever.
  Instead of using a legislative scalpel, you pulled out the giant 
sledgehammer here. Sometimes it is harder to be a legislator and to 
actually get into the guts of something and figure out what is wrong 
and what isn't wrong, and Mr. Bishop has done that.
  They cannot expand the scope beyond those water bodies covered prior 
to the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in those two cases, and it 
cannot be inconsistent with the judicial opinions of Scalia's and 
Kennedy's in Rapanos. This is not judgmental stuff. These are clear 
legislative restrictions. This would be taking and putting walls around 
their rulemaking and saying, no, you're staying inside those rules. In 
addition to that, they can't increase the regulation of ditches. They 
can't eliminate any historical statutory or regulatory exemptions for 
agriculture, which do not exist under the 2003-2008 rules. There are 
questions about ditches under the 2003-2008 rules, and they are 
interpreted differently in all parts of the country.
  You are going to bind us to something that doesn't work because you 
want to grandstand and pretend you are doing something for people who 
have legitimate concerns. Sometimes it is harder to say to them that 
this is a difficult and complicated question, because Americans want to 
preserve the clean waters of the United States. We don't want to go 
back in time, but we also want you people to farm and to ranch and to 
do other productive activities. That is hard to do, and that isn't what 
this bill before us today will do. It will bind us to the problems of 
the past.
  The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Bishop).
  The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Chair, I demand a recorded vote.
  The CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on 
the amendment offered by the gentleman from New York will be postponed.


           Amendment No. 3 Offered by Mr. Bishop of New York

  The CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 3 printed in 
House Report 113-581.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the 
desk.

[[Page H7324]]

  The CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
  The text of the amendment is as follows:

       At the end of the bill, add the following:

     SEC. 5. LIMITATION ON APPLICABILITY.

       None of the provisions in this Act shall apply if the 
     Administrator determines that the implementation of such 
     provisions is likely--
       (1) to increase the interstate movement of pollutants 
     through surface waters;
       (2) to increase the costs to be incurred by a State to 
     maintain or achieve approved water quality standards for the 
     State; or
       (3) to cause or contribute to the impairment of surface or 
     coastal waters of a State.

  The CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 715, the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Bishop) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would address one 
of the fundamental flaws I see in this legislation. The enactment of 
H.R. 5078 would almost certainly block current and future efforts to 
clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act.
  Unfortunately, this would lock in place the interpretive guidance of 
the Bush administration, which took the narrowest and most cumbersome 
and confusing interpretation of the two recent Supreme Court decisions, 
and it has been uniformly criticized by the stakeholder community as 
well as by the conservation and environmental community.
  I think it is important to remember that, under the current Bush 
administration's guidance, traditional Clean Water Act protections over 
a significant percentage of waters has been called into question or 
have simply been lost. These are Clean Water Act protections that 
existed for over 30 years prior to the issuance of the first Bush-era 
guidance in 2003 and are now all but lost, making it harder and more 
costly for individual States to protect their own waters should their 
upstream neighbors be unwilling or unable to fill in the gap in 
protecting water quality.
  As we all know, if pollution is allowed to increase due to the 
competing financial and political interests of States, that pollution 
needs to go somewhere, and since pollution does not respect State 
boundaries when it travels downstream, it will have an adverse impact 
on the quality of life and the quality of the environment of those 
downstream States. As highlighted in my amendment, the end result of 
this will be that downstream States will become responsible for 
treating the pollution of their upstream neighbors, which, at a 
minimum, will increase the compliance costs of downstream States and, 
at a maximum, may destroy the ecological or economic health of these 
States.
  As I have noted before, my district in New York is separated from 
Connecticut by the Long Island Sound. Over time, the number of 
polluters in the area has increased exponentially, killing fish, 
lobsters, and imperiling the $5 billion of economic output that the 
region depends upon. Fortunately, the State has decided that the Sound 
was impaired, and it proposed a more restrictive water quality standard 
for nitrogen. A $5 billion crisis has been averted. However, under the 
current Bush-era guidance, questions have arisen as to whether the 
Clean Water Act protection continues to apply to the upper reaches of 
watersheds, streams, and wetlands which feed the rivers that eventually 
flow into the Sound.
  Under H.R. 5078, the EPA would be prohibited from ensuring that 
polluters in Connecticut continue to reduce excessive amounts of 
nitrogen in the Sound, leaving my constituents in the State of New York 
without any recourse under the Clean Water Act to stop them.
  If this bill were to pass, individual States would decide that 
collective efforts to address the water quality impairments of the 
Chesapeake Bay, the Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, or the Gulf of Mexico 
were unnecessarily restrictive or burdensome, and they would refuse to 
participate in a meaningful way towards the restoration of these 
regional water bodies. This go-it-alone approach flies in the face of 
science, of common sense, and of decades of experience in implementing 
the Clean Water Act.
  My amendment would limit the impact of this legislation if the 
administration determines that this bill were likely to, one, increase 
the interstate movement of pollutants through surface waters; two, 
increase the costs incurred by a downstream State to maintain or 
achieve approved water quality standards for that State; or three, to 
cause or contribute to the impairment of the surface or coastal waters 
of another State.
  The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure created the Clean 
Water Act over 40 years ago as a response to burning rivers, to Great 
Lakes that were pronounced dead, and to an understanding that a State-
by-State approach to protecting water simply didn't work.
  Let's not repeat the sins of the past but commit to moving forward in 
our efforts to protect the Nation's waters. Support my amendment, and 
allow the Agency to put back in place reasonable, comprehensive 
protections of our Nation's waters.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to the 
amendment.
  The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Thornberry). The gentleman from Ohio is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Chairman, I most strongly oppose the gentleman's 
amendment because it seeks to undermine the intent of this legislation.
  There is a great deal of controversy over what the EPA's proposed 
rule would do or would not do. Added to that, they have a subsequent 
proposal of the interpretive rule from the Department of Agriculture.
  What H.R. 5078 says is, ``Stop. Time out.'' The bill says, ``Stop 
this rule process. Go back to the States and back to the stakeholders 
and local governments and work together,'' which was the intent of the 
Clean Water Act. Let's have these agencies work together to develop a 
consensus rule that will actually provide clarity and allow the Federal 
and State governments to work as partners in protecting America's 
waters. This amendment would give the EPA unfettered discretion in 
making determinations regarding State water quality standards, taking 
away the Federal-State partnership that this legislation is seeking to 
preserve.
  I need to remind everybody what this bill does. This bill says, 
``Time out. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, go back to the drawing 
board. Go back to the States. Work with the States. Work with your 
counterparts in the States, and develop a consensus to the rule that 
you need. Go back to the partnership.''
  Let's have a cooperative relationship between the States and the 
Federal U.S. EPA.

                              {time}  1515

  Let's have commonsense proposals to protect our Nation's waters and 
not a one-size-fits-all policy coming out of Washington, D.C. Because 
when it comes to water bodies, streams, and so on, one-size-fits-all 
policies don't always work. We need to be working with those local 
governments and the States to develop the policies to protect and 
enhance our environment at the local level.
  So let's send it back, support H.R. 5078, and make sure that our U.S. 
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers will work with their counterparts 
to seek commonsense policies that protect and enhance our water quality 
and our safe drinking water here in the United States. I urge all 
Members to oppose the amendment.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. I yield back the balance of my time.
  The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Bishop).
  The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the noes 
appeared to have it.
  Mr. BISHOP of New York. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
  The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further 
proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New York 
will be postponed.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee do now rise.
  The motion was agreed to.
  Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Poe 
of Texas) having assumed the chair, Mr. Thornberry, Acting Chair of the 
Committee of the Whole House on the

[[Page H7325]]

state of the Union, reported that that Committee, having had under 
consideration the bill (H.R. 5078) to preserve existing rights and 
responsibilities with respect to waters of the United States, and for 
other purposes, had come to no resolution thereon.

                          ____________________