Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:
"Water is a resource that we need more of -- a lot more of. Mother Nature simply hasn’t produced enough to our state for several years now. But what rain and snow we are blessed with in the North is not traveling the course set by the forward-thinking planners that came before us when they established the most sophisticated water system in the country, and perhaps even the world.
"The California water problem is well known in our community, state, and increasingly so across the country. In Congress we are continuing to work towards a solution that rebalances the regulatory priorities that are overwhelmingly burdensome to people and families for the sake of protecting fish from potential harm. But the formidable foe of government bureaucracy and regulatory overreach has reared its head again in the water debate. This latest case focuses on regulating the water that we do have on our property from small lakes, ponds, streams, and even ditches. In fact, it even regulates water we don't have.
Earlier this week the Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final ruling for what is referred to as "Waters of the United States" This regulation builds upon the Clean Water Act and expands the areas of jurisdiction that the EPA can regulate in compliance with the law.
"We all know about the Clean Water Act and we all support protecting our waterways from pollution that could impact our health. But this new rule is an overreach and intrusion on private property that will have no bearing on protecting public health. How do we know this? Well, the new rule intended to protect "navigable waterways" could include waterways with no water. In Taft, the EPA had determined Sandy Creek as a waterway and was trying to impose a permitting regulation on this land before any development could occur. The problem was that Sandy Creek had been dry for thirty years. I had to drive an EPA official out to this dry ditch and show them that there is no way this falls under their jurisdiction. Finally, the EPA relented.
"Under this new rule, farmers, energy producers, and anyone else that supports their way of life off the land is crying foul this regulation would impose undue economic hardship. What's worse is that their voices have not only gone unheard, the EPA has acted as a special interest group to persuade people to support this regulation. This tramples on the regulatory process as it was intended and produces negative consequences for the American people.
Just a few weeks ago, the House passed legislation to prevent the EPA from implementing this rule and send it back to the drawing board. Every Republican supported it as did 24 Democrats. This bipartisan bill now heads over to the Senate where millions of Americans hope for swift consideration.
"Our community needs the water it has paid for and deserves from the North. What we can't afford is even more regulatory obstacles from this Administration on water we do (and at times don't) have. Republicans in Congress are determined to stop it and allow our economy and community to continue to grow.