What if you had a ham breakfast and the Governor couldn’t be there? (August 14, 2014)
Senator Roy Blunt (r) spoke yesterday morning at a republican press conference in the Farm Bureau building on the grounds of the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia shortly after the Governor’s Ham Breakfast. He was joined at the press conference taking issue with proposed EPA rules on water by Representatives Vicky Hartzler (r) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (r). They also criticized regulation in general.
“…if they don’t sell it [Canadian tar sand oil slated to be transported by the Keystone pipeline] to us they’ll sell it to somebody else…”
Water is wet.
“…logic doesn’t always work if people do illogical things…”
Uh, by definition if the action is illogical the logic never worked.
“…Common sense doesn’t prevail if people pursue policies that don’t meet the common sense standard…”
Again, by definition.
“…Another one that I’m for is making members of Congress vote on every rule and regulation that has any economic impact…”
Think about that for a
minute second. Right. Because the republican majority of the House always bases their decisions on facts, science, and the benefit to all.
From the Enviromental Protection Agency:
EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Clarify Protection for Nation’s Streams and Wetlands: Agriculture’s Exemptions and Exclusions from Clean Water Act Expanded by Proposal
Release Date: 03/25/2014
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) today jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The proposed rule will benefit businesses by increasing efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act. The agencies are launching a robust outreach effort over the next 90 days, holding discussions around the country and gathering input needed to shape a final rule.
Determining Clean Water Act protection for streams and wetlands became confusing and complex following Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006. For nearly a decade, members of Congress, state and local officials, industry, agriculture, environmental groups, and the public asked for a rulemaking to provide clarity.
The proposed rule clarifies protection for streams and wetlands. The proposed definitions of waters will apply to all Clean Water Act programs. It does not protect any new types of waters that have not historically been covered under the Clean Water Act and is consistent with the Supreme Court’s more narrow reading of Clean Water Act jurisdiction.
The health of rivers, lakes, bays, and coastal waters depend on the streams and wetlands where they begin. Streams and wetlands provide many benefits to communities – they trap floodwaters, recharge groundwater supplies, remove pollution, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. They are also economic drivers because of their role in fishing, hunting, agriculture, recreation, energy, and manufacturing.
About 60 percent of stream miles in the U.S. only flow seasonally or after rain, but have a considerable impact on the downstream waters. And approximately 117 million people – one in three Americans – get drinking water from public systems that rely in part on these streams. These are important waterways for which EPA and the Army Corps is clarifying protection.
The proposed rule preserves the Clean Water Act exemptions and exclusions for agriculture. Additionally, EPA and the Army Corps have coordinated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop an interpretive rule to ensure that 56 specific conservation practices that protect or improve water quality will not be subject to Section 404 dredged or fill permitting requirements. The agencies will work together to implement these new exemptions and periodically review, and update USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation practice standards and activities that would qualify under the exemption. Any agriculture activity that does not result in the discharge of a pollutant to waters of the U.S. still does not require a permit.
The proposed rule is supported by the latest peer-reviewed science, including a draft scientific assessment by EPA, which presents a review and synthesis of more than 1,000 pieces of scientific literature. The rule will not be finalized until the final version of this scientific assessment is complete.
Forty years ago, two-thirds of America’s lakes, rivers and coastal waters were unsafe for fishing and swimming. Because of the Clean Water Act, that number has been cut in half. However, one-third of the nation’s waters still do not meet standards.
The EPA has additional information on the Waters of the United States proposed rule.
Senator Roy Blunt (r): Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Blake. And congratulations to everybody who worked on the right to farm. Uh, I was Secretary of State for eight years. My guess would be that this is, uh, this is a narrow margin, but a margin that holds up and it makes a long time difference. Uh, none of the three of us are lawyers. We, we, as, and we, and we’d be quick to say, uh, but as a non lawyer I think putting this in the Constitution matters. It matters when something comes up on the floor of the General Assembly and others can stand up and say, wait a minute, the Constitution of the State of Missouri says that this, what we’re talking about, is something that’s uniquely protected in the Constitution. Makes a difference in court, I would think, if people have to go to court to contend that they uphold their rights. And all of the discussion of whether this benefits big farms or little farms, uh, my, my sense is that, uh, the big farms will generally take care of themselves. The family farms are much more likely to be impacted by rules that don’t make sense, than other farms.
So, let’s go to the topic that, uh, uh, Blake first brought up, the rules that don’t make sense. I just actually saw one of our people who works for the EPA next door and said, well, I’m gonna go next door and talk about what a bad job you all are doing in so many areas [laughter], uh, the EPA being one of them. This week I’ve been talking about a bill that I introduced in the Senate that both Vicky [Hartzler] and, uh, Blaine [Luetkemeyer] voted for in House and the House passed in a bipartisan way, called, uh, the Enforce Act. And the Enforce Act would give members of the, members of Congress the ability we don’t currently have to go to court early and let a judge decide whether the President and the administration are properly enforcing the law or not. Under the current situation we don’t have any standing in court. We can file a friend of the court brief, but to do that the rule has to go into effect. Somebody has to be negatively impacted by the rule. They have to be willing to go to court. And that court means maybe two levels of federal court before the Supreme Court, so, couple of years later you find out, as the court ruled two or three times in the last session, [inaudible] the administration has no authority to do that. So we’d like to be able to intervene earlier and say, okay, let’s just , we’ve got a disagreement here, a majority of one of the two houses of Congress, if not both, believe that you’re not properly enforcing the law, let’s settle that right now.
And certainly the clean water proposals would fall in that criterion. Uh, when in the early nineteen seventies the Congress passed the Clean Water Act they gave authority to the EPA over navigable waters. This is a term that had been used in federal law since about eighteen ninety-nine and it meant waters that you could actually navigate on. What a shocking, what a shocking surprise that would be. That is not all the water of the United States. It is not every water, every drip, drop of water that could eventually somehow wind up in a, something that you could define as a navigable water. It’s an overreach that impacts, as Blaine said, every builder, every county commissioner, every city official, every farming family and it should not be allowed to stand.
Even if, even if the EPA was well motivated here this is more than they can ever do. They can’t regulate every ditch in Missouri that water runs down to the side of the road. Even if they wanted to and even if their desire was to do something that every one of us agree with. Which, of course, it wouldn’t be. But even if it was, they couldn’t do this job. The consequences of these actions easily rob us of our natural, uh, opportunities. I’m gonna talk a little bit more about this when I see some of you at lunch, but our natural opportunities are pretty great.
World food needs are gonna double in the next fifty-five years. The, the, the river system becomes more important than it’s been in probably a hundred years as it tries to connect, uh, with both Asia and Europe and the opportunities there. Uh, we, we have, there are many, this is like the logic of the Keystone pipeline. That oil is coming out of the ground. We are clearly the best customer for that oil from Canada. We’re their best trading partner. They should want to sell it to us. But if they don’t sell it to us, and they’re willing to sell it to us at the Texas rate, which is about twenty percent less than they’ll sell it to anybody else, if they don’t sell it to us they’ll sell it to somebody else. You know, logic doesn’t always work if people do illogical things. Common sense doesn’t prevail if people pursue policies that don’t meet the common sense standard. As I told our friends in Jefferson City when I had the chance to speak to them at the General Assembly last year, the closer you solve a problem where the problem is the more likely you’re gonna get a solution that meets that standard of common sense. And the further you move the, the, the solution away the less likely it’s gonna meet the solution of common sense.
And the very fact that the EPA would say that navigable waters means all the water that could ever somehow trickle into a navigable stream indicates just how far afield they are. These are regulations we shouldn’t let stand. Uh, we need to look for every way we can to get regulators under control. The Enforce Act would be one.
Another one that I’m for is making members of Congress vote on every rule and regulation that has any economic impact. Not only are the regulators out of control, they’re unaccountable. And you and I need to be able get our hands on somebody who at the end of the day says, yes, we, we’re for that regulation. And if that happens it’s gonna make more sense.
You know, the Congress, once the House passed cap and trade, which I wasn’t for, the, people figured out what it was, the Senate would never have passed cap and trade because people figured out this was about doubling our utility bill if I live in Missouri. Uh, but regulators can do things, President says, well there’s more than one way to skin a cat and so we’ll find other ways to do cap and trade. They’re trying to do that as well. That’s the other massive economic destroying, uh, EPA proposal that’s out there right now.
But, uh, no matter what Gina McCarthy [Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] says the concerns about this are legitimate, they are not myths, they are not ludicrous. The comments of the Farm Bureau that reflected those of farm families were not hogwash. You got regulators out of control and their out of control actions will do the wrong things for our state and the wrong ways for our families and we’re gonna fight that.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) spent the day in Ferguson, Missouri.