(ALEXANDRIA, Minn.) – Today, Torrey Westrom submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency over the EPA’s proposed rule to redefine “waters of the U.S.” – or navigable waters – under the Clean Water Act.
The new rule would redefine navigable waters as any body of water that is adjacent to or near a larger downstream water source, making it subject to federal regulations and permitting. The rule would also allow the EPA to seek comment on other waters, which could later be subject to regulation as well.
After hearing concerns from farmers and voters in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District, Westrom submitted the following comments to the agency:
“The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest proposal to change the definition of ‘navigable waters’ under the Clean Water Act is a naked attempt to expand their own authority beyond the scope of the law and will have devastating consequences for Minnesota’s farmers, families, land owners and small business owners.
“Congress was clear when it passed the Clean Water Act that the EPA’s authority would cover ‘navigable’ waters, but this new rule will extend the EPA’s authority to everything from small ponds to ditches in fields. This is government overreach, pure and simple. Federal officials are throwing the legal definition to the wayside and creating nearly limitless regulatory authority, which will hurt our communities. Any changes should be made through the legislative process, where voters can keep government accountable, rather than through a federal agency’s rule making.
“Farmers and small business owners in places like where I live in Elbow Lake, and our surrounding agriculture communities in northwest Minnesota, cannot afford any more burdensome regulations handed down from the federal government. After a historically harsh winter and with a sluggish economy, the last thing America’s agriculture sector needs is unnecessary burden that will stifle business. We know our towns, down to the ponds and ditches in our fields, better than any unelected bureaucrat from Washington.
“The EPA should ditch the proposed rule, which will harm farming communities and families.”
Westrom, the Republican candidate in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District, is one of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Gun” candidates in a targeted House race. For more information visit torreywestrom.com.