The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act (H.R. 2018) Wednesday by a vote of 239-184. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Deputy Environmental Counsel Ashley Lyon said the legislation would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from overruling state decisions on water quality. Lyon said under the Clean Water Act, states have primary responsibility for protecting waterways after EPA signs off on their plans. Unfortunately, according to Lyon, EPA approves a state’s plan for protecting U.S. waters and then reverses its decision by proposing “burdensome and scientifically unfounded regulations.” The best example is in Florida where EPA approved the state’s plan and then unilaterally proposed federal standards, preempting the state’s right to develop its own scientifically-based water quality criteria.
“EPA is out of control and often acts as activists rather than a taxpayer-funded government agency that is expected to use sound science when imposing regulations. We cannot allow EPA to jeopardize economic growth by placing opinions over science,” said Lyon. “We fully support this bipartisan legislation and oppose any effort to veto this commonsense bill.”