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Representative Denham Responds To EPA “Guidance” To 

Expand Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         Contact:  Allie Brandenburger

Date: April 27, 2011                                                                   (202) 731-3222

Washington, D.C. – Representative Jeff Denham, member of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee,  today released the following response to the Obama Administration’s release of a so-called “guidance document” which effectively circumvents the proper regulatory process to increase the extent of waters subject to the Clean Water Act.

“This ‘guidance’ serves as nothing but a complete expansion of the Administration’s burdensome environmental agenda that has been suppressing California’s Central Valley economy for too long,” said Representative Denham (CA-19). “These rules will take land and water ways away from Valley citizens, farmers, developers and ranchers who are the drivers of the Central Valley economy. I am glad that Chairman Gibbs will be holding oversight hearings on this issue.”



170 House Republicans and Democrats recently wrote to EPA and the Corps of Engineers to express their concerns that the agencies are circumventing the proper regulatory process in order to push through this expansion of federal jurisdiction. 

By the agencies’ own admission, the so-called guidance released will substantively change federal policy with respect to which waters fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and significantly increase the scope of the federal government’s power to regulate waters.  The entire letter can be viewed here. or HERE

Legislative proposals to expand federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act were met with stiff bipartisan resistance in previous Congresses.  Now the Administration is attempting to achieve the same objective and redefine the federal government’s jurisdiction over waters and property rights through so-called guidance. 

The effect of the guidance will be to reverse decisions by the United States Supreme Court that recognized limits to the federal government’s regulatory authority, and to undermine the long-standing federal-state partnership in the regulation of waters.  This expansion will result in confusion, permitting delays, and added costs and burdens for communities, farmers, small businesses, industries and other Americans.

The Administration has issued this so-called guidance before conducting any rulemaking, which violates the principles of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the intent of Congress in enacting this law.  The APA sets the standards for the activities and rule making of all federal regulatory agencies, and is designed to ensure those federal agencies use open, uniform, and fair procedures.  The requirements of the APA are not mere formalities.

In unilaterally developing its guidance, the Administration has ignored calls from state agencies and environmental groups, among others, to proceed through the normal rulemaking procedures, and has avoided consulting with the states, which are the federal agencies’ partners in implementing the Clean Water Act.  Only now is it seeking public comment on its fully formed policy.

Allie Brandenburger

Communications Director

Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-19)

(202) 731-3222 (cell)

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              Page Updated: Thursday April 28, 2011 02:48 AM  Pacific

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