By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, May 11, US Representatives Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) and Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) announced in separate statements on Facebook that the US House of Representatives will debate a resolution to block another proposed power grab by federal regulators.
For decades the federal government has regulated what could be done on lands border “navigable water.” The definition of navigable has been stretched to the point that if dad’s bass boat can motor through it on low speed for six months of the year it is considered “navigable.” That is not good enough for some federal regulators who want to expand that to almost any flow of water.
Congresswoman Roby said in a statement, “I’ve heard from many throughout Alabama who are concerned about federal regulators’ proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States.” This aggressive rule would vastly expand agencies’ power to regulate small streams, ditches and ponds – even on private lands. This would particularly affect farmers and foresters.”
Congressman Bradley Byrne said, “Today the House will vote on legislation to stop the flawed EPA’s Waters of the US rule, which redefines “navigable waterways” and could lead to the federal government regulating everything from irrigation ditches to mud puddles. Last September, WKRG’s Pat Peterson interviewed a Baldwin County farmer who outlined why the Waters of the US rule is bad for Alabama farmers.”
Rep. Roby said, “So tomorrow the House of Representatives has an opportunity to block this irrational rule as we consider HR 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015. This bill will force the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the proposal and draft a more sensible solution.”
The conservative congresswoman said, “Everyone agrees there should be reasonable rules to ensure our waters are safe and clean. But water regulations should make sense, and this kind of unnecessary, unilateral regulation from the federal government could result in farmers, foresters and other landowners facing sudden and drastic increases in compliance costs. I appreciate everyone who has voiced their concerns on this issue.”
The US has seen an unprecedented expansion of federal regulatory powers under the administration of President Barack H. Obama (D), much of it without Congressional approval by reinterpreting existing statutes.
US Representative Gary Palmer (R from Hoover) said in a Facebook statement, “The A new study indicates that since 2008, the federal government has imposed $733.9 billion in regulatory costs. These costs disproportionally hurt small businesses. For example, the study shows that for the EPA’s greenhouse gases reporting rule, the costs per entity for the smallest firms would be 1.32 percent, compared to 0.02 percent for the largest companies. In other words, for the reporting rule, regulatory costs are 65 times more burdensome for small businesses. The trend toward more federal control and more intrusive, expensive regulations, should be reversed. Congress should make reversing this trend a priority.”
Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. Congressman Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.