- The Obama administration announced Wednesday it would expand the reach of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act — also known as the Waters of the United States rule. The action would defy the House of Representatives, which voted to kill the proposal earlier this month.
- Builders, as well as farmers and most Republican lawmakers, have come out in opposition to the expansion of the rule, saying it represents government overreach by redefining its control to include creeks, ponds, and other small bodies of water on private property. Under the rule, owners would need to obtain a federal permit before working around the water, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors.
- The House vote called for the EPA to withdraw its proposal and consult with state leaders about drafting an alternate version. The Senate is reportedly considering a similar action to stop the agency's plan. Obama, however, has promised to veto any bill sent to his desk halting the expansion.
The National Association of Homebuilders, the Associated Builders and Contractors, and 200 other organizations joined together to ask Congress to reject the proposed expansion. They claim that under the Clean Water Rule — which was co-authored by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers — building projects could face more delays and increased expenses due to the requirement of obtaining a federal permit.
National Association of Home Builders Chairman Tom Woods expressed his opposition after the announcement in a release. "EPA’s final water rule will needlessly raise housing costs and add more regulatory burdens to landowners and industries that rely on a functioning permitting process to spur job and economic growth," he said.
On the other hand, environmentalists have lauded the measure for more clearly defining the EPA's rule. White House adviser Brian Deese said, "The only people with reason to oppose the rule are polluters who knowingly threaten our clean water."