Coalition Letter on H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 3:00pm

Dear Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall:

The Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC) supports H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States
Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, and urges swift action by the Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure to approve the bill. WAC is an inter-industry coalition
representing the nation’s construction, real estate, mining, agriculture, forestry, manufacturing,
energy sectors, and wildlife conservation interests.

As evidenced at the June 11, 2014, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing,
there is substantial and significant disagreement between the federal agencies, the states, local
governments, and the regulated community about the scope and effect of the “Waters of the
United States” (WOTUS) proposed rule jointly published by the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and the Corps of Engineers (Corps). The disagreements encompass all aspects of
the proposed rule, including whether the proposal is consistent with recent Supreme Court
decisions regarding limits to federal jurisdiction, whether the rule reduces or expands federal
jurisdiction beyond those waters currently regulated, and the implications of the new definitions
that the agencies have incorporated into the proposed rule.

H.R. 5078 would lead to a better rule by requiring the agencies to conduct a transparent,
representative, and open consultation with state and local officials to develop a consensus about
those waters that should be under federal jurisdiction. Consistent with the Clean Water Act, all
other waters would remain under the jurisdiction of the various states where they can
appropriately address the diversity and variability of water and land features and how best to
protect them.

We believe the course of action contained in the legislation has the potential to lay a foundation
for the resolution of this controversial and divisive issue in a way that achieves environmental
benefits and ensures our nation’s ability to engage in the kind of robust economic activity that
sustains and supports Americans working in all sectors of the American economy.

Accordingly, we urge a “yes” vote for H.R. 5078.