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Shelby, Aderholt, and Palmer Comment on Legal Setback for Obama’s Water Rule

By Brandon Moseley

Alabama Political Reporter

On Friday, October 9, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide stay blocking President Obama’s EPA’s Waters of the US rule.  A group of 18 states had sued to block the controversial reinterpretation of existing law, arguing the rule is well beyond EPA’s legal authority to issue.  Several members of the Alabama Congressional Delegation commented on the ruling in favor of the states.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said, “Today, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the implementation of the damaging “waters of the United States” rule, which would significantly expand federal authority under the Clean Water Act. This ruling is great news for Alabama’s homeowners, farmers, small businesses, and municipalities.”

Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) said, “This is great news for farmers across the 4th District and Alabama. This was another example of executive overreach.”

Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) also applauded the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to issue a nationwide stay blocking EPA’s Waters of the US rule.  Rep. Palmer said, “I am pleased that the Sixth Circuit has placed a stay on this onerous rule.  It is well beyond the authority that Congress delegated to the EPA.  This rule would allow the EPA to regulate almost any body of water, even ditches and isolated bodies on private land.  This rule faces strong legal challenges.  A nationwide stay ensures this rule is not implemented while litigation is ongoing, which will protect the American economy from EPA’s overreach.”

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said, “Today’s ruling to halt the EPA’s misguided ?#?WOTUS rule is a win for America’s farmers and landowners. I have been an outspoken critic of this extreme federal overreach while serving on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee and am pleased to see the courts recognizing the havoc this regulation would inflict across the nation.”

Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) said “Good news! The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has halted an attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency to expand its reach into private lands by making small ponds and ditches subject to federal regulations.”

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Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) said in a statement, “Many of you have probably heard me talk about the EPA’s “Waters of the US” rule and the negative impact it would have on Alabama’s farmers. Well today we got some good news when a federal judge delayed the law from taking effect. This is a major victory over the heavy hand of government.”

Rep. Roby wrote, “Federal regulators had attempted to go around Congress and redefine “Waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act to include all manner of small areas where water collects, or could collect, such as ditches, puddles and even decorative ponds. This over-the-top, unilateral, unnecessary regulation from the federal government could result in sudden and drastic increases in compliance costs for farmers, foresters and almost anyone who owns land. Fighting this regulatory overreach from the Executive Branch is one of my top priorities in Congress.”

Congresswoman Roby said, “In May, the House of Representatives passed HR1732, The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which blocks the proposed rule from going into effect. The bill instructs the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to abandon their current proposed rule and start the rule making process over, seeking input from those who would be affected: state and local governments, farmers and private landowners, among others.

However, as with many other issues, gridlock in the Senate has prevented this important bill from being considered.  Thankfully, several states including Alabama filed suit against the EPA asking the Court to stop this power grab. The Sixth Circuit today granted a nationwide stay, meaning the EPA cannot impose their new rule while the court sorts out the legal case. In its ruling, the court wrote, “A stay temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty about the requirements of the new Rule and whether they will survive legal testing. A stay honors the policy of cooperative federalism that informs the Clean Water Act and must attend the shared responsibility for safeguarding the nation’s waters.”

Roby said, “This is good news for Alabama farmers, foresters and really property rights in general. I’ve heard from countless individuals in Alabama who are under threat of being aggressively and unnecessarily penalized by federal water regulators. Though temporary, the Court’s ruling is a relief for them and a win for our Constitutional separation of powers.”

The still Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a statement after a federal appeals court in Cincinnati, Ohio, blocked implementation of the Obama administration’s Waters of the United States rule:

“The WOTUS rule, put forward by the same agency responsible for this summer’s epic environmental disaster in the Animus River, is a raw and tyrannical power grab.  In May, a bipartisan House majority joined with more than 30 governors in rejecting this job-killing unilateral expansion of federal authority.  I am encouraged that the judicial branch has blocked implementation of an egregious regulatory scheme that dooms landowners, small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers to a regulatory and economic hell.”

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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