U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley isn’t happy about one of President Barack Obama’s most recent vetoes. He’s also upset with the way Congress blocked one of his Iowa colleague’s attempt to reign in the control of the EPA.
A joint resolution introduced in September and sponsored by Sen. Joni Ernst, S.J.R. Res. 22, was vetoed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 19. The resolution would have blocked the new federal “waters of the United States” regulations that would affect the streams, ponds and rivers in Jasper County and across Iowa.
Grassley, speaking to the Newton Daily News on Friday during his weekly Capitol Hill Report media conference, praised Ernst for her work on a resolution, and said he was “frustrated” with Obama’s veto.
Waters of the U.S., an environmental rule, went into effect on Aug. 28, 2015. The day the rule went into effect, so did an injunction protecting 13 states — not including Iowa — from its reach. In October, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals approved an injunction for all 50 states.
The rule clarifies the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army under the Clean Water Act in cases of smaller bodies of flowing water.
Grassley, a Republican, is one of those who isn’t happy about what he calls overreach of the EPA.
“We’ve tried three things now to try to overcome Waters of the U.S.,” Grassley said. “There was Sen. Ernst’s resolution. Another one was to change the laws so they couldn’t write it in the first place, and Sen. (John) Barrasso (R-Wyo.) thought that one up, but it got hung up on not having 67 votes to override the veto. Putting a rider on an appropriations bill was the third one; that didn’t get done before Christmas.”
Obama told Congress the new rule “is critical to our efforts to protect the nation’s waters and keep them clean.” The president stated he could not support Ernst’s resolution because it blocks progress and denies the public “the regulatory certainty and clarity needed to invest in projects that rely on clean water.”
The veto was the ninth of Obama’s presidency.
“I’m disappointed that President Obama and Senate Democrats have repeatedly ignored the legitimate concerns raised by folks across the country who are directly impacted by the WOTUS rule and chose instead to stand with an unchecked federal agency in Washington, D.C.,” Ernst said after the veto.
Iowa Soybean Association Policy Director Carol Balvanz said the concern among farmers isn’t merely more EPA control over regulations on water released downstream. It’s about preventing regulations that stop farmers from potentially not being able to do any work at all around a body of water without paying a fee and getting a permit.
“It’s both a potential money grab and a potential land grab,” Balvanz said. “All the comments submitted (during open-comment periods to the EPA) seem to make no difference. It’s been said the EPA won’t attempt to hamper normal farming activities, but that’s the agency that will be allowed to determine what comprises normal farming activities.”
Grassley said court challenges to the rule might take a while. The rules are suspended under injunction, so Obama’s veto had no immediate direct effect on any water regulations, but to be on the safe side, some agencies have told farmers to act as if the law’s provisions are already in place.
“Thank God the checks and balances are working, or this power grab by the Democrats would be successful,” Grassley said. “I don’t think we’ll get a final answer until it gets to the Supreme Court, unless we get a new president and can take more Congressional action.”
Contact Jason W. Brooks at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or email@example.com
See the full article here.