3:59 PM EDT
Denny Rehberg, R-MT

Mr. REHBERG. Confusion--you've heard the word confusion. There is no one confused. That pesky Supreme Court has ruled against the environmental community of America saying you're trying to overextend your authority or belief in the authority of the regulatory agencies. There is no confusion here. It's a private property right.

[Time: 16:00]

When the Clean Water Act was written, as the courts have made their decision, whether it was the U.S. Supreme Court or the Fifth Circuit, they've [Page: H4813]

made a determination that ``navigable'' means navigable. Thank goodness. Finally, a court that gets it; a court that understands, that makes the right decision. There is no confusion here. The confusion is that there is an element within American society that wants to regulate all water to the detriment of

private property rights.

They want to make a determination that if there is a stock water pond and a duck lands on it, we get control. If there's an independent stream, meaning it goes underground, and then occasionally when it rains too much and there is going to be moisture, we want control. This is what we're talking about in America today, overregulation. When we talk about jobs--where are the jobs--a lot of it is because of overregulation.

Might I remind my colleague from Virginia, when I first got to Congress, one of the biggest issues was sewage dumped in a river--what river? the Potomac--in the dead of night. When their sewer system was full, the D.C. Government took their sewage and dumped it into the Potomac. And you know what happened? We thought, finally, us western Congressmen and -women, that there was going to be parity, there was going to be equality, there was going to be a recognition that many of the rules and regulations

were difficult, there needed to be an infrastructure bill that was going to come and clean up our waters.

And what did the Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Representatives do to Congress? They got an exemption from the decision to continue to allow some of the things that were occurring in the Potomac.

You want to talk about the endangered species and the bridge south of here going across the Potomac? There was an Endangered Species Act. We westerners, said, Thank God. Finally there's going to be equality. There's going to be parity. You are going to recognize that some of the things that we're having to deal with in the West just don't necessarily work as easily as you think they're going to.

What did the Representatives from D.C. and Virginia and Maryland do? They helped Congress and the bureaucracy turn their backs on those various regulations. This is clearly understood. This is clearly defined. We don't want the Federal agencies mucking around in an issue that they don't understand. This is clearly an East versus West or an urban versus rural debate.

Finally, finally, the courts have said, enough is enough. You've gone too far. There is no confusion. The only confusion is they want to create confusion. They want to make an argument so they can ultimately start overregulating one more time to the cost of our jobs, to the cost of our economy, frankly, in some cases, like in the Potomac, to the cost to our environment. Shame on them.

Work with the western colleagues to clearly understand how to manage natural resources for the betterment of the natural resources, for clean water. Let the people that have allowed us the opportunity to have the clean water have it in the future. That's private property. That's a clear understanding of State regulations.

One of the reasons we're even going through the whole states' rights issue in the water issue and the adjudication process in places like Montana is so that we can clearly understand that it's a states' rights issue, that we'd better understand water--especially the headwaters. And, frankly, the downstream States are the beneficiaries of the clean water that we're sending them.

Don't further hamstring us. Don't tie our hands. Don't allow additional regulatory oversight for the various agencies that are helping to create a problem. And we'll have better clean water. Society will have a better environment. We will have a better America. And as a result, we will have the jobs that we want.

I yield back the balance of my time.

4:03 PM EDT
Cynthia Lummis, R-WY

Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose the amendment and to support the underlying bill.

Water rights are a State issue. And this amendment would allow two Federal agencies to increase their own scope of jurisdiction pursuant to the Clean Water Act. Those agencies have acknowledged that this amendment would allow them to increase the scope of their jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. It is not that nonnavigable waters go without regulation. Nonnavigable waters are regulated. They are regulated in the States by State systems. In the State of Wyoming, that system is a regulatory

system administered by the executive branch. In Colorado, that system is an adjudicatory system regulated through the courts.

But in every case, in the West, where water is precious and sparse, the people who control it--whether it is in my State, like the board of control and our four regions and our water commissioners, our superintendents, our ditch riders, our ranchers, our farmers, our Department of Environmental Quality--they know the names of the streams; they know the names of the people who interact with the streams, the livestock that interacts with the streams, the wildlife that interacts with the streams,

the weeds, the crops, the grass. They understand these ecosystems.

State government has been regulating water for over a century in a very comprehensive, clear, boots-on-the-ground, understand the systems way of managing. Now if you take that and allow the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to expand their jurisdiction in a way that includes nonnavigable waters, it will take that regulatory scheme that is working so well, and it will bring it to Washington, 2,000 miles away from where the regulators are currently doing their jobs well every day, and put it

right here in Washington, D.C., where people don't understand the scarcity of water, where people don't understand our regulatory schemes, where they don't understand our case law, where they don't understand our ditch riders, where they don't understand our superintendents, where they don't understand our boards of control, they don't understand our State engineers.

Under the Western Attorneys General Conference, there is a specific entity related to the State engineers. The State engineers in the West are the people who regulate water. They meet regularly to discuss interstate issues and water jurisdiction as well as intrastate issues. This is a well-regulated, well-understood, well-managed, well-articulated system.

To take it and decide the Federal Government, for no good reason, could do better at a time when the Federal Government is broke and we cannot expand its jurisdiction without costing the taxpayers needlessly more is a travesty, Mr. Chairman.

I yield back the balance of my time.

4:08 PM EDT
Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I too rise to oppose this amendment offered by the gentleman from Virginia, an amendment offered, in my mind, to protect this administration's overreach on regulating all bodies of water in this country.

As my friend from Montana alluded to, this really is a job-killing amendment. Section 109 of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill puts a check on this administration's proposed ``guidance'' on Clean Water Act regulations. Mr. Chairman, at a time when unemployment exceeds 9 percent, this so-called guidance document, from my point of view, being from the West, will undermine economic growth, increase permitting requirements, and undoubtedly lead to more litigation.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, this guidance document ``would take an overly broad view of waters of the United States and would serve as a road map to designate nearly all bodies of water, and even some dry land, as subject to Federal regulation that dictates land use decisions.''

Mr. Chairman, water is a precious commodity, especially to those of us in the West. It is a necessary resource for many activities, including agriculture, energy, transportation, and recreation. Our economy and way of life cannot afford to have the Federal Government claim control of all waterways in this country. This administration's attempt to enact such Draconian regulations through regulatory fiat is a deliberate attempt to circumvent Congress.

[Time: 16:10]

As many of my colleagues know, the prior Congress could not pass an overly restrictive renewal of the Clean Water Act, so it's clear that this part of the regulatory agenda is aimed at picking up the pieces that the Congress could not enact last time. So it's for this reason that I joined 169 of my colleagues in April of 2010 to urge both the EPA and the Corps of Engineers to withdraw these proposed guidance regulations. That was in April of 2010. Unfortunately, this administration refuses to

do so.

So that is why section 109 is so important, to protect rural America from overzealous bureaucracies. For that reason, Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

4:10 PM EDT
Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the gentleman's amendment. Without this amendment, the bill would result in increased implementation costs to both the Federal and State resource agencies, as well as to the regulated community, increase delays in the implementation of important public works projects and protracted litigation on the disparity between existing Federal regulations and the two court decisions.

Clearly, the Army Corps of Engineers cannot exceed its congressional authority. But it's certainly necessary that the law and regulations be clarified, given the Supreme Court decision. There is a purpose to the Clean Water Act. It is to protect the Nation's waterways. And all of the environmental and economic benefits these aquatic ecosystems provide are at risk if some elements are protected and others are not.

We certainly need to make sure that the definitions are predictable and manageable. The definition of waters protected by the Clean Water Act should be clear, understandable, well-supported, and transparent to the public. I am concerned if the language currently in the bill is not removed that that will not be the case. It is certainly needed to promote consistency between the Clean Water Act and agricultural wetland programs. We need the identification of waters covered by the Clean Water Act

and the Food Security Act. And operational elements of implementing programs should reflect consistent, predictable, and straightforward decision guidelines. We ought to be precise on exemptions as well.

My further concern is that the provision now contained in the bill does not apply simply to the coming fiscal year; it applies to any subsequent energy and water development act, ensuring uncertainty continues indefinitely.

So I am in strong support of the gentleman's amendment and would be willing to yield time to him.

4:13 PM EDT
Jim Moran, D-VA 8th

Mr. MORAN. I thank my very good friend, the ranking member of Energy and Water Appropriations.

Let me first address the points that were made by my very good friend from Montana.

First of all, there was a suggestion that there was sewerage dumped into the Potomac River. I think that's pretty much a quote. That's not accurate, I would say to my very good friend. It was not sewerage. It was clean, filtered silt that came from a drinking water reservoir that was put into the Potomac without any threat to the quality of the water or the habitat. The Corps of Engineers understood that. They don't now put it there. But I don't think it's quite accurate to describe it in the

way that it was.

With regard to the Supreme Court ruling, even Justice Scalia made it clear that waters that are adjacent to navigable waters should be federally regulated and protected. So the statement that was offered in the debate is not entirely accurate.

I would also mention that EPA does have an office in Montana. And, in fact, the people who were adversely affected by the oil pipeline of late that put a considerable amount of oil into the Yellowstone River, they are saying that EPA was wonderful, tremendously helpful to them. That's what EPA wants to be now, not only to individual communities adversely affected, but to the businesses, to the mining interests, to the farming interests that need clarification on what waters are appropriately

under Federal jurisdiction.

4:15 PM EDT
Denny Rehberg, R-MT

Mr. REHBERG. I thank the gentleman from Nebraska for yielding.

No, the point is there was more than just clean water dropped into the Potomac. It was done in the dead of the night. It would not have needed to be done in the dead of the night if it was being done legally or aboveboard. And if you want to talk about the oil spill in Montana, the Yellowstone River is in fact a navigable stream.

Yes, in fact, the EPA did a good job. No, in fact, we haven't, to my knowledge, yet--and that is still yet to be open to interpretation because we are waiting--there has been no loss of life among the fish. We will wait and see. Certainly, some of the ramifications will be down the road as a result of the studies that occur. And we do appreciate the EPA coming in. But, again, it was a navigable stream.

And this amendment strips what we are trying to do to protect nonnavigable from being expanded beyond the original intent.

4:16 PM EDT
Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. The gentleman talks about the Potomac. I have been here for many, many years. I was on the staff in the other body. And at the time--and this was probably in the mid-seventies when what the gentleman says was an issue.

4:17 PM EDT
Denny Rehberg, R-MT

Mr. REHBERG. No, the issue was not as a result of the Clean Water Act being established to clean up the various rivers around the country. The issue had do with specifically the Potomac and the discharges that occurred within the Potomac. And those of us from the Western Caucus in 2001, which is when I first got to Congress, were trying to make the issue of the hypocrisy between the eastern constituency, the urban constituency of Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, trying to apply a different

standard to Montana.

So the issue was specific to the discharge in the Potomac, and it was specific to the Wilson Bridge and an endangered species, and the hypocrisy of two separate interpretations. The Supreme Court has made an interpretation that the agencies are going too far. We agree with it. The language in the bill agrees with it.

This amendment is a bad amendment, and I hope you vote ``no.''

4:18 PM EDT
Jim Moran, D-VA 8th

Mr. MORAN. I thank the gentleman from Washington.

I am not going to belabor this, but I do think for the record we should clarify. Some of what the gentleman said is accurate except for the material. This was not sewerage. This was filtered silt that came from a drinking water reservoir at Dalecarlia that is operated by the Corps of Engineers. They did put it into the Potomac, after verifying that it would not jeopardize the health of the fish or any of the vegetation. And they did seek an exemption. They lost. And now that silt is put in a

landfill.

4:19 PM EDT
Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. I would like to ask the gentleman a question.

Does the gentleman not believe, as I do, that the Potomac River is far better today in terms of water quality because of the Clean Water Act?

I yield to the gentleman from Virginia.

[Time: 16:20]

4:19 PM EDT
Jim Moran, D-VA 8th

Mr. MORAN. There is no question that the Clean Water Act is responsible for the health, such as it is, of the Potomac River. There was a time when you could almost strike a match and light the Potomac River on fire, there was so much pollution in it.

4:19 PM EDT
Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. And it was lit on fire. And then the Clean Water Act was passed by Congress, and guess who signed it? Richard Milhous Nixon. He signed that bill. He signed the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Policy Act. I mean, in those days there were Republicans who cared about the environment.

4:20 PM EDT
Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I appreciate my friend from Washington yielding.

This amendment is about a bureaucratic guidance on an issue, on an issue that this Congress attempted to take up last time that simply, among other things, said that the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act would not be navigable waters.

Now, that causes a whole lot of us in the West a lot of problems. And coming from an irrigation area, it bothers me because that means the Federal Government would now be in charge of everything not navigable, which could be irrigation streams.

4:21 PM EDT
Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I appreciate my friend from Washington yielding.

This amendment is about a bureaucratic guidance on an issue, on an issue that this Congress attempted to take up last time that simply, among other things, said that the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act would not be navigable waters.

Now, that causes a whole lot of us in the West a lot of problems. And coming from an irrigation area, it bothers me because that means the Federal Government would now be in charge of everything not navigable, which could be irrigation streams.

4:21 PM EDT
Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Reclaiming my time, I would just say to the gentleman, why don't you, as chairman, do you have jurisdiction over this or is this the Commerce Committee?

4:21 PM EDT
Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Well, you know, you Republicans are in the majority now. You are the chairman of a major committee. Why don't you have your committee system hold a hearing?

We don't--you know, the fact is what you are trying to do in this appropriations bill is so egregious that we have to use an amendment to fix it.

4:21 PM EDT
Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. The issue for me is not the Clean Water Act. The issue was the attempt to amend the Clean Water Act to take out ``navigable,'' and that is what is being done potentially by the guidance with this drafting.

4:22 PM EDT
Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Reclaiming my time, again, the regulatory process hasn't even been completed. People are still sending in comments, and so to use a blunt tool and put this prohibition in here doesn't allow the process to work to make sure we can clarify the Supreme Court decision.