Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman David Rouzer released a joint statement with the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, the North Carolina Association of Realtors, and the Business Alliance for a Sound Economy  (BASE) denouncing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule change to the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.                                  

Currently the EPA’s oversight applies to all navigable waters.  Under the proposed rule change the “Waters of the U.S.” would include smaller bodies of water and even some dry land.  This new definition would extend the EPA’s regulatory reach to seemingly any body of water.

Today the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee hosted a joint hearing to examine how the rule change would impact state and local governments.

“I am greatly concerned about the impact this rule change would have on Southeastern North Carolina,” said Congressman David Rouzer.  “The new rule is so vague that it could require our farmers and property owners to get permission from a federal bureaucrat before acting on their own property.  In talking with small business owners, farmers, realtors, and homebuilders, it’s clear the rule change could negatively affect every industry.”

“At the local, state, and federal level, this is an issue that has united businesses, local governments, and citizens,” said Tyler Newman, Senior Government Affairs Director for BASE.  “Simply, the rules would hamper future investment across wide areas of North Carolina.  We appreciate Congressman Rouzer’s continued leadership on this issue.”

“A study by the Civitas Institute found that the new EPA rules will cost the NC economy more than $1.5 billion in the next 15 years and will cost the taxpayers greatly,” said Cady Thomas, Director of Government Affairs for NC Association of Realtors.  “The proposed rule provides essentially no limit to federal jurisdiction.”

“I speak for our organization when I say this issue is a top priority that we follow closely,” said Larry Wooten, President of the NC Farm Bureau.  “We applaud Congressman Rouzer’s efforts regarding the “Waters of the U.S.” to make sure the federal government does not cause unnecessary hardships of increased permitting burdens to our industry or rural communities.”