Thune Denounces EPA Power Grab Over Private Land

“The Obama administration is forgoing the consent of Congress and the courts in a never-ending effort to extend its power and stifle economic growth in the process …”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today criticized a sweeping regulation from the Obama administration, saying the Environmental Protection Agency’s final “waters of the United States” rule is yet another power grab by an administration that has established a pattern of acting unilaterally:

“Yet again, the Obama administration is forgoing the consent of Congress and the courts in a never-ending effort to extend its power and stifle economic growth in the process. The administration appears to have no regard for the fact that this expansion will hurt hard-working Americans and South Dakotans – men and women who cannot afford the additional permit application expenses, compliance costs, and threats of significant fines. 

“States like South Dakota have a strong interest in protecting and preserving their water resources, which are the lifeblood of our agricultural, hunting, and tourism sectors, yet I am especially concerned that the restrictions regarding prairie potholes will mean greater regulatory restrictions in eastern South Dakota, the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region.  Not only is this rule another example of the Obama administration’s federal overreach, but we’ve also seen alarming evidence that suggests the EPA influenced the public comment period using questionable practices. The Obama administration has hit our nation and South Dakota with yet another devastating blow, but I will continue to work with my colleagues to do whatever is possible to block these heavy-handed EPA regulations,” said Thune.

The final rule includes broad new definitions of the scope of “waters of the United States” that fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act of 1972. The final rule could apply to countless small wetlands, creeks, stock ponds, and ditches that are typically regulated at the state level, which would have significant economic impacts for property owners hit with new federal permits, compliance costs, and threats of significant fines.

Thune is a co-sponsor of legislation to block the EPA’s power grab. Previously, Thune joined several of his Republican House and Senate colleagues in sending a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding his opposition to the EPA’s efforts to expand its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. That letter can be read here.