U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) voted Tuesday to support of the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, a bill he co-sponsored to protect Valley farmers and ranchers from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) controversial “Waters of the United States” rule.
Denham’s bill prohibits the EPA from extended its definition of “navigable waters” to bodies of water such as farm ponds or drainage ditches, making them eligible for regulations of the Clean Water Act.
By using the Water of the United States rule, Denham says the EPA would broaden regulation of the agricultural community and add another layer of bureaucracy.
“The last thing Central Valley farmers and ranchers need is more restrictions on water usage,” said Denham. “That’s why preventing the implementation of the Waters of the United States rule is crucial to ensure our property rights.”
The bill also requires the EPA and the Corps of Engineers to consult with state and local governments and maintain a transparent partnership when developing recommendations for regulatory proposals.
The bill is supported by the Association of California Water Agencies, the California Farm Bureau, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other national organizations.