US House of Representatives Passes Waters of the US Bill

Yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed H.R.1732 – Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, referred to as the “waters of the US” bill, after the US EPA rulemaking expanding the waters that fall under federal permitting authority. If the rule is not amended or withdrawn, county-maintained drainage ditches and stormwater channels could be subject to federal permitting and oversight requirements under the Clean Water Act.

The legislation passed yesterday would withdraw the rule. As described by the National Association of Counties (NACo),

H.R. 1732 would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to withdraw the proposed “waters of the U.S.” rule within 30 days and restart the rule-making process. The bill would require the agencies to consult and collaborate with state and local governments on the “Waters of the U.S.” rule development process.  The agencies would also be required to document the interactions, including those areas where consensus was reached and not reached, and submit a final report to Congress.

The legislation passed 261-155. US Representative Andrew Harris of Maryland’s 1st congressional district and US Representative John Delaney of Maryland’s 6th district voted in support of the legislation.

For more information on the legislation, see the bill information page here.

For more information on how this legislation could affect Maryland’s local governments, see additional information from NACo here and read NACo’s letter on HR 1732 here.