Interior Bill Contains Measures to Limit EPA Power

Several provisions will help rein in EPA.

Published on: Jul 29, 2011

Ag-supported measures to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency are embedded in a major spending bill the U.S. House is expected to pass by next week. The Interior appropriations bill includes at least three key GOP provisions to limit EPA's power to regulation greenhouse gases, pesticides and U.S. waters.

American Farm Bureau Federation Regulatory Specialist Paul Schlegel says one would stop a pending EPA bid to allow the agency to regulate even the smallest of water bodies.

"The environmental activists for several years tried to get Congress to amend the Clean Water Act, but never got enough support to do it," Schlegel said. "So now EPA in a regulatory fashion is actually issuing something that would in fact broaden their jurisdiction and their regulatory authority."

The Interior bill would prevent EPA from exceeding its Clean Water Act authority and making even a ditch or grass waterway subject to EPA rules and environmental lawsuits. Schlegel says the bill, which faces an uncertain future in the Senate, also deals with greenhouse gases.

"They have inserted the text of a bill, H.R. 910, which has already passed the House of Representatives, which would take away the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases to the endangerment finding," Schlegel said. "That bill passed the House with strong support and we're glad to see the committee put that in the bill."

And while key Senators struggle over an EPA pesticide permit ban, Schlegel says this House spending bill includes it.

"We now are facing permitting requirements based on what we feel is a flawed court decision from the Sixth Circuit that would take effect in October," Schlegel said. "The House by a very wide margin earlier this year, about 295 to 130 I think, passed H.R. 872 that would amend the Clean Water Act and then the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act to make sure we don't have this duplicative process."

House Agriculture Chair Frank Lucas, R-Okla., says the Interior bill also blocks EPA from imposing tighter farm dust standards and through greenhouse gas rules an effective cow tax on livestock producers.