Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to withdraw the Water of the United States rule, which would expand the government’s authority to regulate “navigable waters.”

According to a press release from her office, the definition of “Waters of the United States,” proposed under the Obama Administration, would change four decades of Clean Water Act policy.

“Land owners, farmers, and business owners in Southwest Washington just got one step closer to an important measure of relief. The Trump Administration just announced its decision to withdraw the Waters of the United States rule, which made ditches, man-made ponds, and seasonally wet areas on private property subject to additional federal control and massive costs,” Herrera Beutler said in a press release. “I have consistently opposed this sweeping expansion of federal control that would upend 42 years of Clean Water Act policy that will do very little to protect our environment, yet could do so much to hurt farmers, small business operators, and important economic activity.”

According to the release, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers would have to obtain a Clean Water Act permit under the Waters of the United States rule for the areas mentioned, which in 2006 averaged $270,000 in cost and took 788 days to obtain. It also listed penalties for violations of the act that could reach $37,500 per day, according to the release.

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I've been scratching my head every time this rule is brought up, and even though I've supported the basic mission of the EPA this was truly "a bridge too far" in rule making. Thank you Congresswoman Beutler for your involvement in this, and I hope that farmers and landowners will enjoy relief from worrying about possible consequences of a poorly thought out process.

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