House Votes to De-fund Controversial EPA Water Proposal

Jun 30, 2000

House Votes to De-fund Controversial EPA Water Proposal
State Water Agencies Join Call to Withdraw TMDL Rules as Chairman, Ranking Member Urge OMB Director to Pull Regulations

(June 30, 2000)

Washington, DC — Last night, by a vote of 306-110, the House passed military construction appropriations legislation, which included language prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using its funds to implement new rules requiring Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for non-point pollution sources.

"There is overwhelming opposition across the country to the EPA's proposals.  The sheer fact that independent scientists, farmers, foresters, and environmentalists have all urged  withdrawal of these rules should give the EPA pause,"  said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX).  "Instead, the Agency has continued its efforts to force these rules on local communities and it has given us no choice but to resolve this issue through legislation."

Yesterday's vote came after months of intense national criticism leveled at EPA by independent scientific groups, agricultural producers, environmental protection organizations, and a large bipartisan group of House and Senate Members.  Most recently joining the chorus for reconsideration of the politically motivated and scientifically flawed TMDL rules was the  Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA), which represents state agencies responsible for water quality.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Carol Browner, dated June 29, 2000, ASIWPCA
stated in part:

"It is the view of the majority of the state water quality program managers responsible for the day to day implementation of the clean water programs, that this set of rules is technically, scientifically and fiscally unworkable.  The extensive comments submitted to USEPA on the proposed rule by the Association and by the individual States have, to a large degree, been ignored."

Meanwhile, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) and Ranking Member Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) were joined by a bipartisan group of 38 Members of the Agriculture Committee in writing a letter urging Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jacob Lew to instruct EPA to withdraw its proposal.

"Over the last several months, the House and Senate have held a dozen hearings on the TMDL rules," the Members wrote.  "Over 20 public forums around the country have drawn thousands of local citizens voicing united opposition to the rules.  The vigorous oversight and public involvement have raised substantial uncertainty about the integrity of the process, cost analysis, and science associated with EPA's proposals."

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