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senate Bill S. 1140

Does Congress Need to Keep the EPA From Regulating More Bodies of Water?

Argument in favor

The EPA needs to focus its water regulations on improving water quality and navigable waterways, not regulating isolated ponds or groundwater to ensure bugs and wildlife have enough water in their habitat.

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11/03/2015
To believe that government "protects" the environment shows how sheepish one is. Look at the mess the has enveloped from Gold King Mine near Silverton, CO. "WE THE PEOPLE" are responsible to make wrongs; right when it comes to the environment. Educating the young and not relying on some crony bureaucrats in Washington to take action is our only future.
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ark4162's Opinion
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11/02/2015
The EPA is a threat to financial security of this country. the EPA needs to be shut shown completely. There are so many watchdog groups out there now that will scream at the top of their lungs when anyone does anything against the environment the EPA is not needed. All it does is cost boat loads of money small businesses can't afford and strip away freedom and liberty. The EPA should be 100% DEFUNDED!!
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Sid's Opinion
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03/23/2016
The EPA is nothing but another perfect example of what's wrong with this country.
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Argument opposed

The EPA needs the flexibility to be able to broadly define “waters of the U.S” in order to ensure that nation’s water is of sufficient quality, and that wildlife habitats can remain healthy into the future.

AndrewGVN's Opinion
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11/02/2015
The EPA's job is to make water (environment) safe, limiting their ability to do their job properly is rather dumb.
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Leo's Opinion
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11/02/2015
The EPA is responsible for making sure our water is safe. Limiting it's remit is directly counter to this purpose.
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Lesia's Opinion
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11/03/2015
We are destroying our home and using up all its resources, especially water. It MUST be managed
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What is Senate Bill S. 1140?

This bill would only allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to regulate specified navigable waterways

It negates a proposal by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers to broaden the federal government’s regulatory authority over things like protecting water quality, navigable waterways, and protecting wildlife/insect habitats and their water supply.

Waters of the U.S. that would be impacted by this legislation and relevant federal regulations include:

  • Traditional navigable waters and interstate waters;

  • Streams identified on maps (scaled to EPA use) that identify potential sources of drinking water;

  • Streams with enough flow to carry pollutants to a navigable waterway based on statistically valid measures of flow for that geographic area;

  • Wetlands next to U.S. waters that protect water quality by blocking pollutants from entering navigable waters;

  • Areas unlawfully filled without a required permit.

Waters that would not be effected by this legislation and relevant federal regulations include:

  • Water located below the surface of the land — including soil water and groundwater;

  • Water outside of rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, or wetlands — including channels that have no bed, bank, or ordinary high water mark or hydrologic connection to traditional navigable waters;

  • Isolated ponds;

  • Stormwater, floodwater, agricultural water, wastewater, municipal/industrial water supply management systems;

  • Streams that lack the flow to carry pollutants to navigable waters;

  • Previously converted croplands;

  • Areas lawfully filled under a permit or areas exempt from permitting.

The EPA and USACE would be kept from asserting federal control on:

  • The use of a body of water by an organism, including a migratory bird;

  • The supply of water to a groundwater aquifer and the storage of water in an isolated waterbody;

  • The water cycle, including the supply of water through evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, overland flow, and movement of water in an aquifer.

Before moving forward with any future regulatory proposals, the EPA and the USACE would have to perform a number of consultations and analyses in conjunction with existing federal laws and executive orders. The EPA and Corps of Engineers would have until December 31, 2016 to draft new proposed regulations defining “waters of the U.S.” based on the guidelines in this legislation.

Impact

People and businesses that would otherwise be affected by the proposed water regulations, state and local governments, Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the EPA.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1140

$5.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost $5 million over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) cited the need to protect water quality without creating uncertainty for ranchers, farmers, and other businesses in developing “waters of the U.S.” regulations:

“By striking the right balance, we’ll restore Washington’s attention to the country’s traditional waterways, protecting these cherished natural resources. At the same time, we’ll give certainty to farmers, ranchers and small-business owners that they can use their property reasonably without fear of constant Washington intervention. The recently finalized rule on Waters of the U.S. is the posterchild of EPA overreach. Many of my colleagues, particularly those from rural states in both parties, have talked about their concern with the rule. This will be their chance to show their constituents that they are ready to do something about it.”

Currently this bill has 46 cosponsors in the Senate, including 3 Democrats and 43 Republicans. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved this legislation by a vote of 11 to 9.

On October 9, 2015 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a nationwide stay on the enforcement of the “waters of the U.S.” rule, after 13 states issued stays of their own while the rule advances through the judicial system. The stay was granted in part to maintain national uniformity for relevant regulations until a final ruling is issued.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: "EPA GULF COAST WATER SUPPLY RESEARCH LABORATORY, DAUPHIN ISLAND. EPA PERSONNEL ABOARD EPA-1 ARE ON A TRIP TO OBTAIN... - NARA - 546324" by Shrout, Bill, Photographer (NARA record: 8464472) - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

AKA

Federal Water Quality Protection Act

Official Title

A bill to require the Secretary of the Army and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to propose a regulation revising the definition of the term "waters of the United States", and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
    IntroducedApril 30th, 2015
    To believe that government "protects" the environment shows how sheepish one is. Look at the mess the has enveloped from Gold King Mine near Silverton, CO. "WE THE PEOPLE" are responsible to make wrongs; right when it comes to the environment. Educating the young and not relying on some crony bureaucrats in Washington to take action is our only future.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    The EPA's job is to make water (environment) safe, limiting their ability to do their job properly is rather dumb.
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    The EPA is responsible for making sure our water is safe. Limiting it's remit is directly counter to this purpose.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    The EPA is a threat to financial security of this country. the EPA needs to be shut shown completely. There are so many watchdog groups out there now that will scream at the top of their lungs when anyone does anything against the environment the EPA is not needed. All it does is cost boat loads of money small businesses can't afford and strip away freedom and liberty. The EPA should be 100% DEFUNDED!!
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Abolish the EPA and return state power.
    Like (7)
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    We are destroying our home and using up all its resources, especially water. It MUST be managed
    Like (6)
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    The EPA needs broader powers to insure the quality of water and its natural inhabiting species
    Like (5)
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    At this point in time I do not trust congress perspective of protecting the public good/interest when it conflicts with private desire for more control over and wealth extraction from our natural resources.
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    We need an EPA for the EPA. Also farmer's have too much control over water usage, & thanks to the GOPs love affair with livestock. That's what should be regulated. Not the definition of the word "pond." This bill is just another step back, coddling the Chik-FiL-A & Arby's CEOs so they won't have to worry about their farms' water usage.
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    First and Foremost this bill on the EPA should be voted DOWN... The EPA was designated to do just that REGULATE for the Environment!! VOTE NO!!
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    The EPA has to be stopped somewhere
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    We must do whatever it takes to keep our waterways, ponds, lakes, streams, creeks, rivers, inter coastal zones, and coastlines clean. We need to insure clean water to all citizens of this Great Nation.
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    Stewardship of the environment is important to a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. Giving the EPA appropriate regulatory powers to protect our nation's most precious resource is the most prudent vote.
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    Water is arguably the most valuable resource his or any nation can manage. Even The Army core of engineers had a different proposal. Limiting our management is not the way to tackle issues with the arguably flawed EPA.
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    EPA needs to regulate MORE bodies of water, not less. Water pollution, including ground water contamination from fracking, is still very much in need of monitoring and prevention.
    Like (3)
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    Ruining the environment effects every person on the planet and we have a responsibility to reduce our impact on the environment.
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    Stop encroaching on the EPA's ability to regulate! I like my water non-flammable & heavy metal free.
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    The EPA is our only hope to keep corporations from destroying our water supply. Regulations are needed.
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    Be careful of how far the reach
    Like (2)
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    Let the EPA do its job.
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