Sullivan Holds EPW Subcommittee Hearing on WOTUS Legislation
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Fisheries, Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, today held a legislative hearing on S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. This bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Sullivan, will ensure appropriate protection of waters under federal jurisdiction and will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw the proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and issue a revised proposal, after consulting with states and other entities that were ignored the first time around.
In April, Senator Sullivan held multiple field hearings in Alaska to examine the impacts of the EPA’s WOTUS rule on state and local governments and stakeholders.
(Click on the photo above to watch video from hearing)
At today’s hearing, Senator Sullivan once again stated his opposition to the WOTUS rule noting that “Three-fifths of the states oppose the proposed rule along with more than 300 trade groups and associations from across the country. While it is Congress’s job to prevent this massive expansion of federal jurisdiction, we must do it in a way that protects our waters and allows states the opportunity to fulfill their roles as co-regulators under the Clean Water Act.”
Already, a huge percentage of Alaska’s waters are under federal control. Sixty percent of the nation’s jurisdictional waters are in Alaska. But if the WOTUS rule is enacted, it appears that EPA’s jurisdiction will increase significantly, making it all the more burdensome to do business in Alaska.
The Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140) will “not only help to clarify jurisdiction and prevent unlawful federal overreach,” Sen. Sullivan said. But it will also “help to ensure that the protection of Alaska’s precious resources remain in the hands of those who live near and rely on them.”
During the hearing, Senator Sullivan also examined the views of a diverse group of stakeholders from across the country on S. 1140. Below are excerpts from their testimony:
Susan Metzger, Assistant Secretary, Kansas Department of Agriculture, testified: “With this legislation, the States, as primary implementers of the Clean Water Act, will play a more appropriate and necessary role in crafting a rule that clearly defines Waters of the United States. S.1140 recognizes the shortcomings of the original engagement put forth by the Federal agencies by promoting renewed Federalism and proper coordination with the States before publication of the rule.”
Mark Pifher, Manager Southern Delivery System, Colorado Springs Utility, testified: “The Federal Water Quality Protection Act is an honest, thoughtful attempt to provide EPA and the Army Corps with clear Congressional direction as they fulfill their mission of implementing the Clean Water Act, an Act whose goals we all support. NWRA supports S.1140 and looks forward to working with this Committee and others, including the agencies, in an attempt to “get the rule right” this time. This is too important an issue to either act upon in haste or attempt to resolve through endless litigation.
Robert Pierce, Wetland Training Institute, Inc., in Maryland testified: “I fully support the goals of S.1140 to restore the proper relationship between the federal and state authorities and responsibilities for aquatic and land resources in the Nation as specified in Section 101(b) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 commonly referred to since 1977 as the Clean Water Act.”
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