Alexander: New Federal “Mud Puddle” Regulation Harms Tennessee Families, Farmers and Businesses

Votes for resolution to stop EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers effort to add big, wet blanket of burdensome regulations

Posted on November 4, 2015

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today voted to stop a new EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rule that would regulate nearly all water—including “mud puddles” on Tennessee farms, Alexander said—if the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers determine that the water is within “significant” proximity of another waterway.

“The Obama administration’s penchant for burdensome regulations has gone so far that the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are even trying to regulate farmers’ mud puddles,” Alexander said. “We must stop the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ efforts to add to the big, wet blanket of burdensome regulations that mean higher costs for Tennessee families, farmers and businesses.”

Earlier this year Alexander, who is the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, voted for the fiscal year 2016 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill in the Senate Appropriations Committee. That bill would have prohibited the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the Waters of the United States rule that redefines what qualifies as a “navigable” waterway subject to the Clean Water Act. Thirty-one states have filed lawsuits against the rule and two courts have blocked its implementation.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats blocked the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would have:

  • Stopped the Waters of the United States rule.
  • Set forth principles and guidelines for the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to follow if the agencies rewrite the rule.
  • Required the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to report to Congress within 30 days of proposing a new rule, detailing how the proposed rule complies with applicable laws and executive orders.

Sen. Joni Ernst’s (R-Iowa) resolution expresses Congress’ disapproval of the new rule and, under the Congressional Review Act, would invalidate the rule and prevent the rule from ever being implemented. Alexander is a cosponsor of the resolution, which passed the Senate today, 53 to 44.

Under the Congressional Review Act, the House and Senate can vote on a joint resolution of disapproval to stop, with the full force of law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or regulation or issuing a substantially similar regulation without congressional authorization. The president can sign the resolution or veto it, which would require a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to override the president’s veto. President Obama has signaled he will veto the resolution.                

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For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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