U.S. Senator Pat Toomey expressed his concerns over a proposal that would change which waterways can be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency with Cumberland County farmers Friday.
The Clean Water Act gives the EPA the right to regulate navigable bodies of water that flow between states. Toomey says the EPA proposal would dramatically expand that.
"The EPA's new rule would virtually make all outdoor water eligible for their regulation," Toomey said. "What if a farmer has a stretch of land, that every once in a great while, in a very heavy rain, develops a big puddle that stands for awhile? Are they going to come in and decide to tell him whether or not he can plant in that space?"
Thousands of miles of headwater streams and wetlands acreage in Pennsylvania and many more across the nation would have pollution and encroachment protections restored under a new Clean Water Act rule the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed Tuesday.
The rule would cover most wetlands, smaller headwater streams, and intermittent and ephemeral streams that flow only briefly following rainfalls, imposing stricter federal pollution controls.
Outlined in a 371-page document, the proposed rule aims to clear up a dozen years of regulatory confusion created by two complex U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 and directives issued by the George W. Bush administration that limited Clean Water Act jurisdiction and enforcement.
The Environmental Protection Agency has released its to-do list for 2014, in the form of its annual regulatory agenda. And it calls for tackling some controversial environmental questions that Congress has been unable to resolve, including how to limit carbon emissions from existing power plants and whether energy companies should be required to disclose the chemicals they inject into the ground during fracking. While the plan has some gaps—Bloomberg BNA has pointed out it's noticeably silent on coal ash, a toxic coal-burning byproduct that has been responsible for several recent environmental disasters—it could have far-reaching environmental benefits. Below is a summary of the EPA's biggest goals in the new year.