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Almost 200 GOP lawmakers blast Biden’s EPA for concentrating on farmers, ranchers: ‘Egregious federal overreach’

FIRST ON FOX: Almost 200 Home Republicans penned a letter to the Biden administration Thursday, demanding that it rescinds a regulation that might threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of U.S. farmers and ranchers.

The letter — led by Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., and cosigned by 193 fellow Republicans together with Home Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn. — argued that the so-called Waters of america (WOTUS) rule, which broadly defines water sources protected beneath the Clear Water Act, would create regulatory uncertainty and confusion.

Newhouse addressed the letter to Environmental Safety Company (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan and Michael Connor, the assistant secretary of the Military for civil works. In late December, on the final working day of 2022, the EPA and the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers introduced that they had permitted the regulation and that it was set to enter impact in March.

“I’ve stated it earlier than, and I’ll say it once more, WOTUS is probably the most egregious federal overreach this nation has ever confronted,” Newhouse advised Fox Information Digital in an announcement. “Each farmer, rancher, or property proprietor who strikes dust shall be harmed by this rule.”


Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., speaks during a news conference on March 17, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., speaks throughout a information convention on March 17, 2021, on the U.S. Capitol. (Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Name, Inc through Getty Pictures)

“This letter emphasizes Home Republicans’ dedication to combating again in opposition to this overreach and representing the voices of our constituents who’re united in opposition to this rulemaking,” Newhouse continued.

The EPA rule opens the door for the federal authorities to control wetlands, lakes, ponds, streams and “comparatively everlasting” waterways, largely mimicking a pre-2015 environmental rule set throughout the Obama administration which applied the adjustments in an effort to curb water air pollution. After the rule was introduced final month, Regan stated it “safeguards our nation’s waters” and Connor added it will “enable for extra environment friendly and efficient implementation.” 


Nonetheless, Republicans, farmers and agriculture trade teams ripped the regulation, saying it represented a large federal overreach that will make it “harder for farmers and ranchers to make sure meals safety.” Newhouse and the opposite lawmakers famous of their letter Thursday that farmers, ranchers and different small enterprise house owners might face jail time and different authorized punishments in the event that they misread the rule.

“Rural communities within the West and throughout the nation are devoted to scrub water and don’t should be punished by the continued authorized uncertainty that this new ultimate rule promulgates,” they wrote to Regan and Connor. 

“Violations of the Clear Water Act carry vital prison and civil penalties that means that farmers, ranchers, and small enterprise house owners might face jail time and hundreds of {dollars} in fines a day for making adjustments to their property,” they added.

Newhouse, a farmer and former director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, gives a tour of his farm in Sunnyside, Washington, in 2015.

Newhouse, a farmer and former director of the Washington State Division of Agriculture, provides a tour of his farm in Sunnyside, Washington, in 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Name through Getty Pictures)

The battle over easy methods to outline protected water sources within the U.S. stretches again almost a decade. Years after the Obama-era adjustments had been unveiled, the Trump administration reversed the rule and highlighted which water sources — akin to puddles, groundwater, many ditches, farm and inventory watering ponds and waste therapy programs — that it would not think about in want of federal safety.

Then, in 2021, a federal choose struck down the Trump administration’s change and reinstated a pre-Obama WOTUS regulation. 

And there’s presently case pending earlier than the Supreme Court docket, Sackett v. EPA, which might prohibit how the EPA is ready to regulate waterways. The case considerations a household was prevented from constructing a house on loads they personal in Idaho after the EPA stated development would disrupt navigable waters positioned on their lot.


“These adjustments imply that company permits could possibly be required for regular farming actions–akin to eradicating particles and vegetation from a ditch, making use of pesticides, altering the kind of crops grown on a subject, or setting up a fence or pond,” the GOP lawmakers continued within the letter. 

“Allowing is a expensive and time-consuming course of that requires farmers and ranchers to rent attorneys and consultants they usually can’t afford,” they said. “It’s unacceptable that the businesses proceed to create regulatory uncertainty for farmers, ranchers, small companies, and landowners.”

Farmers have warned that the new EPA rule would damage their businesses and threaten U.S. food security.

Farmers have warned that the brand new EPA rule would harm their companies and threaten U.S. meals safety. (iStock)

As well as, the Republicans expressed concern that the EPA intentionally timed the announcement throughout the holidays to “rating political factors and appease activists.”

They concluded the letter, urging the EPA to rescind the December rule and postpone any motion on the difficulty till the Supreme Court docket makes a ruling in Sackett v. EPA.


“The American individuals deserve certainty and an assurance that present guidelines and rules is not going to fluctuate with the specter of prison penalties and vital monetary hardship for failing to abide by the ever-changing guidelines,” they wrote.

“This new WOTUS definition will solely enhance regulatory uncertainty and worsen situations for farmers, ranchers, job creators, and landowners. Given this, we urge you to rescind the rule and postpone any subsequent company motion on WOTUS to permit the Supreme Court docket to difficulty an opinion on Sackett v EPA.”

The EPA did not instantly reply to a request for remark.

FOX Enterprise reporter Greg Wehner contributed to this report.

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