Monday, June 29, 2009

Simpson Files Amendment to Protect Idaho Ag

Simpson Trying to Block Federal Water Jurisdiction

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, has filed an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing any attempt to expand the federal government’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Simpson is the Ranking Republican on the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.

Simpson filed the amendment in response to passage of legislation in the United States Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee that would dramatically expand federal jurisdiction over agricultural uses of water. S. 787, the so-called Clean Water Restoration Act, would remove the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act’s definition of waters covered by the Act’s provisions. In short, this would make virtually any water body in the United States potentially subject to EPA permitting and enforcement authorities, including water tanks, irrigation canals, ponds, drainage ditches, and even mud holes. Non-navigable waters are currently regulated by the states.

“S. 787 is a classic example of legislation that sounds good to the average citizen but has devastating impacts on our economy, food supply, Constitution, and way of life,” said Simpson. “There is simply no reason why the federal government needs to be out micro-managing our nation’s farms and ranches and stealing regulatory jurisdiction from the states. S. 787 is a big government land grab, pure and simple, and it is being forced on the agriculture community by people who don’t know the first thing about crops or cows.”

The amendment was filed with the House Rules Committee. The Committee determines which amendments will be in order during floor consideration of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill. The Rules Committee, under the control of the Democrat Leadership, has refused consideration of many Republican amendments this year and will either reject or approve floor consideration of Simpson’s amendment later this evening.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo last week voted against passage of S. 787 in the Environment and Public Works Committee and has placed a hold on Senate consideration of the bill.

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