Congresswoman Kristi Noem today called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to define which waters would be under EPA jurisdiction if the proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule was adopted.  The announcement comes in the wake of new EPA maps (see the South Dakota map here) that were only recently made available after pressure from Congress. These maps have raised additional questions about how extensive the EPA’s regulatory authority could become.

“To see the miles upon miles of waterways on this EPA map is extremely alarming.  This could very well be one of the largest federal land grabs in US history,” said Rep. Noem.  “These new maps outline thousands of miles of waterways that could be subject to new permitting requirements and stiff fines if private property owners are found in violation.  I am calling on the EPA to define which of these waterways would be exempt from EPA jurisdiction under their proposal. We cannot have every ditch, pond, and stock dam under the EPA’s control.”

On March 25, 2014, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed a rule that could assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over nearly all areas on public and private property that are connected to navigable waters.  As written, the rule aggressively expands federal authority under the Clean Water Act while bypassing Congress and creating unnecessary ambiguity.

Most recently, in July, Noem co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would stop the EPA and Army Corps from implementing the rule.  In May, Rep. Noem joined 231 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle in urging the EPA and the Secretary of the Army to withdraw the proposed rule.  She also questioned the USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at an Agriculture Committee hearing in June. Here, the Congresswoman raised concerns about the lack of clarity the interpretive rule would provide to producers and questioned why the administration is pursuing the rule when so many are opposed to it (watch the exchange here).

To view a copy of each of the EPA maps released by the Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee Lamar Smith, please click here.

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