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Shuster's Legislation to Stop EPA Overreach Passes House

WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman Bill Shuster’s (R-Hollidaysburg) legislation, H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, passed the House on Tuesday evening. This legislation protects farmers, homebuilders, and small businesses from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule by requiring a withdrawal of the proposal.

“The EPA’s latest power grab is a prime example of why Pennsylvanians are sick and tired of the oversized federal government,” said Congressman Shuster. “This rule would have major impacts on our farmers and homebuilders, and could force thousands of dollars in fines onto Central and Southwestern Pennsylvanian small businesses. I was proud to lead the fight to stop this unchecked expansion of government and protect our region’s jobs.”

The Obama Administration's WOTUS proposal attempts to "clarify" which water bodies are subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. However, if implemented the rule would allow the EPA to expand its federal overreach, produce less clarity and more uncertainty,  and could force thousands of dollars in new costs onto industries impacted by the proposal. Congressman Shuster’s legislation, H.R.1732 requires a withdrawal of the rule and ensures that the EPA works with industries and state and local governments before drafting a new, balanced rule that actually clarifies jurisdiction.

“As a Pennsylvania dairy farmer we want to ensure a healthy environment for our animals and our crops,” said Micah Meyers, President of the Franklin County Farm Bureau. “I am afraid that if the EPA is given the right to manage all waters of the U.S., not only streams and waterways, but mud puddles, small ditches in driveways, and fields acres and acres of well-managed prime farmland will be lost. As I am a fourth generation farmer, I am concerned that the EPA's rules and regulations could greatly affect our farm now and for future generations. Many thanks to Congressman Shuster and others in their efforts to stop EPA’s overruling of WOTUS.”

Congressman Shuster has led the fight in Congress to stop the EPA’s WOTUS proposal. In the 113th Congress, he helped usher similar legislation through the House and he held a field hearing in the 9th district to raise awareness of its impact. Earlier this year Shuster chaired the first bicameral hearing of the 114th Congress to help chart a path forward for the House and Senate to work together to stop the damaging rule.

"The EPA's Waters of the U.S. rule extends federal regulations to temporary streams, ditches and even dry land that is only occasionally wet,” said Marty Yahner, State Farm Bureau member and co-owner of Yahner Bros. farm near Patton in Cambria County. “Since these features can be found on farms, Pennsylvania farmers fear how they may be impacted by this rule. The passage of H.R. 1732 in the U.S. House of Representatives is a solid first step forward, and as a farmer, I appreciate Congressman Shuster's efforts and all those in Congress who have taken a stand against this illegal, overreaching rule."

According to the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB), if the rule is not stopped, due to its complexity, farmers could unknowingly be forced to face fines of more than $37,000 per day. Additionally, PFB estimates that if the rule is approved the EPA would gain authority to regulate over 60,000 acres of land in the 9th Congressional District.