Monday, August 31, 2015

Morgan Griffith on EPA Rules

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"WOTUS Rule – An Update

A federal judge in North Dakota acted on August 27 to block the Obama Administration’s controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which was challenged as a threat to state sovereignty by 13 states (Virginia is not among the challengers). Though this is encouraging, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began on August 28 to enforce its plan in all but those 13 states involved in the pending suit.

In May, the House of Representatives with my support and the support of 24 Democrats passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act (H.R. 1732). This bill would require the EPA to withdraw the WOTUS rule. A different bipartisan bill that would also restrict the WOTUS rule passed the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in June. I am hopeful it will be considered and passed by the full Senate, so the WOTUS rule can be stopped in all states.

A Very Significant EPA “Miscalculation”

Last week, as summarized in a Wall Street Journal report, “The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it had underestimated the amount of water built up in an abandoned Colorado mine, a miscalculation that led to a massive release of toxic sludge into the Animas River earlier this month.” The report also indicates that “…the misjudgment was the most significant cause of the spill.”

Further, an EPA official “…noted that provisions for a ‘worst-case scenario’ weren’t incorporated into the agency’s plan to deal with the mine, which had long been the subject of state and federal cleanup efforts.”

Wow.

EPA’s inspector general as well as the Interior Department have launched investigations as to what transpired here, and I expect there will be congressional hearings on this matter as well.

I can’t help but think that had a private company made a similar “miscalculation,” it would face substantial fines and penalties.

I believe EPA ought to fine itself just as severely as it would a private business, and return a portion of their budget to the Treasury to help offset the costs of the cleanup. EPA actions must be scrutinized and the agency must be held accountable."