House tries to rein in EPA, to dismay of conservationists

decease times; font-size: 14pt;”>By Richard Mauer

store times; font-size: 14pt;”>An EPA effort to protect wetlands and small streams upriver from its established haunts on “navigable waters” is winning praise from outdoors groups as a way to ensure water quality, but U.S. House Republicans, including Alaska Rep. Don Young, say it’s “federal overreach.”

To emphasize the point, the House titled a bill to hold back the EPA, “Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014.” Young was one of its dozens of co-sponsors, and it easily passed the Republican-led House Tuesday, 262-152. One Republican voted no and 35 Democrats voted yes.

But Chris Hunt, a spokesman for Trout Unlimited, said the bill, HR 5078, was more like “congressional overreach” into an area the EPA long had jurisdiction — the streams and marshes that feed into the rivers directly covered by the U.S. Clean Water Act.

“The notion that this is some sort of regulatory overreach needs to be stamped down,” Whit Fosburgh, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said in a media teleconference before the House vote. “The better name for this bill would be the ‘Dead Zone Preservation Act.’ ” 

A coalition of conservation and sportsman organizations, led by Trout Unlimited, called the last-minute news conference to build opposition to the House bill, though the speakers acknowledged their effort would likely be futile. Their bigger hope, they said, was to block the bill in the Democrat-controlled Senate, which is friendlier territory to environmental groups.

Read the rest of the article on the Alaska Dispatch News: HERE

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