Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on President Trump’s actions to begin rescinding the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule. Grassley has been an ardent opponent of the rule, which has been blocked temporarily by a federal court. The rule would have defined 97 percent of the land in Iowa as a waterway.
“This is great news. The Waters of the U.S. rule was the ultimate power grab by the EPA. The regulation was crafted outside of the agency’s authority in a process that left out the states and other key parties that were affected by the rule. And, legitimate concerns raised during the public comment period were ignored. On top of it all, the independent investigative arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, said the agency used ‘covert propaganda’ to illegally promote its sweeping rule. Farmers, land owners and builders in Iowa struggled to make sense of the regulation. Having the federal EPA and the Corps of Engineers require permits for routine land use decisions is a waste of resources that are better used enforcing existing regulations against discharging pollutants into the nation’s waterways. Today’s action starts another long process, but it’s a step in the right direction. Since it will take a lot of time to unwind this rule, it may be that legislative action is faster and something Congress should consider.
“It’s important to remember that opposing the Waters of the U.S. rule is not the same as opposing the EPA in general. The EPA has an important mission in enforcing the federal Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. But the EPA should be subject to congressional oversight for oversteps and mistakes like every other executive branch agency. Each additional EPA regulation must meet the common sense test and should not be more cumbersome or costly than necessary to protect human health. We can have economic growth and environmental protection. I’ll apply that principle as the Senate considers legislation or reviews the actions of the EPA or proposals from President Trump affecting the agency or its regulations.”