|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.