CPR Scholar William Buzbee testifies at House Hearing on EPA's Waters of the US Rule

Erin Kesler

May 29, 2014

Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar and Professor of Law and Emory University School of Law William Buzbee will be testifying today at a House Committee on Small Business Administration Hearing entitled, “Will the EPA’s ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule Drown Small Businesses?”

According to Buzbee’s testimony:

The purpose and logic of the new “waters” proposed regulations, in brief:       

These proposed regulations and a massive accompanying science report referenced and summarized in the Federal Register notice are an attempt to reduce uncertainties created by three Supreme Court decisions bearing on what sorts of "waters" can be federally protected under the Clean Water Act.  The two most important recent cases are the Supreme Court’s decisions in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001) (SWANCC) and United States v. Rapanos, 547 U.S.715 (2006) (Rapanos).  Judicial and regulatory treatments of these cases and the earlier related decision in United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes, 474 U.S. 121 (1985), have resulted in an increasingly confused body of law, creating both regulatory uncertainty and occasionally bold new assertions about reduced protections for previously jurisdictional “waters of the United States.”  These cases, and resulting confusion, have increased regulatory transaction costs for everyone and reduced the protections afforded to America’s waters.  The proposed 2014 "waters" regulations are a logical and legally well justified means to bring clarity to the law and, to the extent permissible under the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, restore protections long provided to America’s waters during three decades of bipartisan agreement about when and why various sorts of waters should be protected.  If finalized, they should greatly reduce legal uncertainty, regulatory skirmishing, and attendant litigation resulting from the uncertain intersection of these three important cases. 

To read the entire testimony click here.

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