Capitol Comments with U.S. Rep. David Young

Congressman David Young -- CROPPEDBy U.S. Rep. David Young
Iowa’s Third Congressional District


A few weeks ago, a man from Ankeny wrote to my office about the controversial rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers redefining the Waters of the United States. Like many of us, Terry was frustrated that small businesses were not consulted during the rulemaking process. Terry owns a machine shop, so he knows first-hand how government regulations are frequently complicated and expensive to navigate. He just wants to work and contribute to a healthy economy without being hassled needlessly by the federal government.

Another resident from southwest Iowa wrote to me about this very same rule. Ryan, a Golf Course Superintendent, was worried about doing simple maintenance work on the water hazards and sprinkler systems of his golf course. Think about that for a moment. Ryan, and others like him would now be required to file for costly federal permits just to maintain their golf courses.

I have also met with many Iowa farmers who are worried about how the rule would impact their ability to conduct basic activities such as planting trees, constructing buildings, and applying fertilizer or pesticides. Can you imagine the EPA requiring farmers to have to get a permit to tile during a season? Can you imagine how long that could take? Your season could be too late to plant. What would that do to land value, or commodity prices?

Manufacturers, small business owners, farmers – people all across Iowa and this country – are feeling the heavy hand of the federal government. They are fearful of the impact this power grab will have on their livelihoods. With things like runoff waters and drainage ditches being redefined as navigable waters and subject to federal regulation at every turn, they should be worried.

It seems unbelievable, but under the proposed rule small “headwater” tributaries, adjacent waters, ditches, even areas that hold water after a heavy rain will be under the control of the federal government.

Last Tuesday, I was proud to stand with my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to block this proposed rule and demand we go back to the drawing board. I supported H.R. 1732: The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, or the reset bill, because itÂ’s commonsense, smart legislation.

H.R. 1732 gives the EPA and the Corps 30 days to withdraw the current proposed rule that redefines “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, and charges them with developing a new proposed rule in consultation with state and local officials, private stakeholders, and anyone who will be impacted by the rule. This bill requires a stakeholder process that will actually deliver clean water solutions and improve water quality in the United States.

In Congress, we are always going to debate how to arrive at solutions. That is a healthy part of a representative republic. My mission here is to make certain the EPA and Corps do just that. The House passed this reset bill, because we need a process that’s transparent where stakeholders are at the table. As you have seen, the stakeholders are farmers, golf course superintendents, machine shop operators, developers, and construction workers. They are Iowans, they are Americans.

This rule has far reaching implications. We need to get it right. We have to get this right. The current “gotcha” approach will only succeed in harming many Iowans without protecting our nation’s waterways. I believe the reset bill sets us firmly in the right direction.