House Passes Goodlatte Amendment to Prevent EPA Power Grabs
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) amendment to the FY 2017 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act by a bipartisan vote of 231-197. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on final passage of this legislation on Thursday.
Goodlatte’s amendment would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using funds to take retaliatory or “backstop” actions against the six states located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed if they do not meet the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) mandated by the EPA.
Goodlatte spoke on the House floor in support of his amendment. Click here to watch.
Floor statement of Congressman Bob Goodlatte on Amendment #57 (as prepared):
Mr. Chairman, today I rise to urge support for my amendment, which would reaffirm and preserve the rights of the states to write their own water quality plans.
My amendment simply prohibits the EPA from using its Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load and the so-called “Watershed Implementation Plans” to hijack states’ water quality strategies.
Over the last several years, the EPA has implemented a “Total Maximum Daily Load” (TMDL) blueprint for the six states in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which strictly limits the amount of nutrients that can enter the Chesapeake Bay. Through its implementation, the EPA has basically given every state in the watershed an ultimatum – either the state does exactly what the EPA says, or it faces the threat of an EPA takeover of its water quality programs.
Congress intended that the implementation of the Clean Water Act be a collaborative approach, through which the states and the federal government work together. This process was not meant to be subject to the whims of politicians and bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Therefore, my amendment instructs the EPA to respect the important role states play in implementing the Clean Water Act.
I want to make it perfectly clear that my amendment would not stop the EPA from working with the states to restore the Chesapeake Bay, nor would it undermine the cleanup efforts already underway.
My language only removes the ability of the EPA to take over a state’s plan, or to take retaliatory actions against a state, if it does not meet EPA mandated goals – again, it ensures states’ rights remain intact and not usurped by the EPA.
It is important to point out the correlation between the EPA’s outrageous “Waters of the United States” rule and the Bay TMDL. At the heart of both issues is the EPA’s desire to control conservation and water quality improvement efforts throughout the country and to punish all those who dare oppose them.
Mr. Chairman, the Bay is a national treasure, and I want to see it restored. But we know that in order to achieve this goal, the states and the EPA must work together. The EPA cannot be allowed to railroad the states and micromanage the process.
With this amendment we are simply telling the EPA to respect the important role states play in implementing the Clean Water Act, and preventing another federal power grab by the Administration.