Denham Votes to Protect Central Valley Farmers and Ranchers from Overregulation
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today voted in support of the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, H.R. 5078, a bill he co-sponsored to protect farmers and ranchers in the Central Valley from overregulation.
“The last thing Central Valley farmers and ranchers need is more restrictions on water usage,” said Rep. Denham. “That’s why preventing the implementation of the Waters of the United States rule is crucial to ensure our property rights.”
The bill prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing their controversial proposed “Waters of the United States” rule to extend the definition of “navigable waters” to miniscule bodies of water such as farm ponds and drainage ditches, making them eligible for regulations of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
By redefining these waters, the EPA would broaden regulation of the agricultural community and add a new layer of bureaucracy between farmers and their lands. Under the EPA’s proposed rule, almost all waters could be subject to regulation by the agency regardless of size or continuity of flow.
The bill Rep. Denham supported prohibits the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from developing, finalizing, adopting, implementing, applying, administering or enforcing the proposed “Waters of the United States” rule and any other agency guidance that would expand the scope of waters covered by the CWA.
It also requires the EPA and the Corps of Engineers to consult with state and local governments and maintain a transparent partnership when developing recommendations for regulatory proposals.
The bill is supported by the Association of California Water Agencies, the California Farm Bureau, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other national organizations.