WASHINGTON – Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) voted this week to block two of the Obama Administration’s most controversial water rules.
On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 1644, the STREAM Act. This legislation would require the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a comprehensive study of existing stream protection rules before additional regulations can be proposed by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
“The Office of Surface Mining’s secretive and overreaching Stream Protection Rule threatens to nearly double the number of good paying coal jobs lost since 2011,” said Shimkus. “This rule is one of President Obama’s most aggressive assaults yet in his unrelenting War on Coal – a seven year campaign that has devastated communities in rural America.”
Hearings held by the House Natural Resources Committee found that the science on which the administration’s Stream Protection Rule is based has often not been made available to the public and interested stakeholders, including states with the most expertise in regulating mining.
On Wednesday, the House passed S.J.Res. 22, a joint resolution to disapprove the administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
“I’ve voted numerous times to block this EPA overreach,” said Shimkus. “Congress never intended for EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to have jurisdiction over ditches, creeks and man-made ponds. I’ve heard frequently from farmers and landowners around my district who say this outrageous power grab would put needless burdens on their families, and threaten their right to make decisions about their property.”
The administration’s final WOTUS rule would redefine the regulatory status of marginal waters such as streams that flow part of the year, only after rainfall events, and isolated water features. Under the final rule, all tributaries to the nation’s traditional navigable waters would be under the regulatory jurisdiction of the EPA, regardless of how small or far upstream they are from navigable water.