Tough new pollution controls will be imposed on thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands under a proposal by President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency. The new rules could make it into federal regulation by the end of the year, The Washington Post reported.
The issue over what streams and wetlands should fall under the Clean Water Act has simmered for a decade. The George W. Bush administration issued rules in 2003 and 2008 to limit the reach of the act and the Supreme Court has weighed in twice, according to the Post.
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson downplayed the extent of the new rules, saying, “This is not some massive increase, as far as we can tell.” Environmentalists hailed the decision but livestock owners and builders said it will impose an economic burden.
The House GOP included a provision to block the EPA from instituting the rules in their continuing budget resolution this spring but later dropped it, the Post reported.
Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s environment subcommittee Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, expressed disappointment with the EPA.
“I strongly believe that it is the responsibility of Congress through the legislative process, not the EPA through guidance, to determine whether or not waters currently regulated by the states should be subject to federal jurisdiction,” he said.
Supreme Court rulings questioned whether the act applied to isolated streams not connected to navigable waterways. The Bush administration then determined that as many as 20 million acres of wetlands fell under that category.
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