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ICYMI: Rouzer Washington Times Op-Ed "Administration’s new rule muddies water for all Americans"

The Washington Times | House Republicans have maximized the first 100 days of our majority to follow through on our Commitment to America, and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee has been instrumental in this effort. In the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee where I serve as chairman, we have passed legislation repealing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent and most significant regulatory power grab to date as well as permitting reform to lower energy costs. Chairman Sam Graves and I, along with 152 of our colleagues, introduced a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a law enacted in 1996 that empowers Congress with the ability to overturn rules issued by federal agencies, to repeal the Biden administration’s flawed “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. Congress voted to approve the joint resolution with a bipartisan vote of 227-198 in the House and a bipartisan vote of 53-43 in the Senate. It is unfortunate the President chose to veto this legislation. The administration’s new rule is a nuclear warhead aimed squarely at our farm families, small businesses, homebuilders, every property owner, and entire communities because of its ambiguous and subjective definition of a “navigable water.” Proponents cite the list of exemptions for farmers and others. With such a subjective definition in place, exemptions are in the eye of the beholder. Or to put it another way, you are exempt until you are not exempt. This burdensome WOTUS rule expands the federal government’s control over states, localities, and private landowners making it harder to farm, build, and generate economic prosperity at a time when it is sorely needed. For example, in areas like North Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District storms can bring very heavy rain. Meanwhile creeks, streams and rivers are everywhere throughout the landscape. Water lingering for short periods of time after a rainfall no matter how close to a body of water could easily be classified as a WOTUS depending on the viewpoint of the bureaucrat making the judgment. Hefty fines, litigation and even prosecution can result. In fact, it already has under previous versions of the many entangled interpretations of a WOTUS. This new rule will just make it worse. While many may not yet realize just how consequential the WOTUS rule will be on their everyday lives, everyone in America is all too familiar with the ramifications of the administration’s ongoing assault on American energy production and distribution. To make good on our promise to help cut energy costs, House Republicans passed H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. As one of many key components in this package, H.R. 1 includes a bill I was proud to sponsor, H.R.1152 the Water Quality Certification and Energy Project Improvement Act, which would help ensure the development of our Nation’s energy infrastructure by preventing the abuse of the permitting process under the Clean Water Act. For too long, the water quality certification process has been, and continues to be, weaponized by certain states to stifle important energy projects opposed for political reasons. In my home state of North Carolina, the Mountain Valley Southgate Project was denied under Sec. 401. However, it was not denied because of a water quality issue. It was denied because a pipeline for natural gas ran counter to the ideological agenda of the bureaucracy. The same has happened in other states. Reliable, low-cost energy is fundamental to prosperity. It is not only critical to our economy, but is critical to our food supply, our national security, and a cleaner environment. Rather than an assault on American energy production and distribution, our federal government should be focused on ensuring America can build the energy infrastructure necessary to responsibly utilize our natural resources and unleash American energy. By doing so, we can once again be energy independent, provide more oil and gas for the world and put downward pressure on prices lowering the cost of energy for all. This is exactly what H.R. 1 does. While there is a lot more work to be done, I’m proud of the solutions House Republicans have delivered in our first 100 days. Though we only have the majority in one chamber of a legislative branch that requires a supermajority in the U.S. Senate on just about every policy matter, under the leadership of Speaker McCarthy we are changing the narrative and the debate for the benefit of the American people. We are fulfilling the promises of our Commitment to America. U.S. Rep. David Rouzer, North Carolina Republican, represents the state’s Seventh Congressional District. He serves as Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.


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