Republican Forum Criticizes EPA Regulations

House and Senate Republicans held a forum at the House Visitor Center to discuss “Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and initiatives that are hindering job creation and economic expansion in America’s rural communities” on September 27th.  Possible Clean Water Act regulations, including for water transfers and aquatic pesticides, were a major focus of the forum.

Norm Semanko, Executive Director of the Idaho Water Users Association, appeared on behalf of the Family Farm Alliance, National Water Resources Association, and his association.  When asked if EPA is biased against storage projects Semanko replied “Yes” and commented that EPA’s “pre-judging” of such projects is “wrong”.

In his statement, Semanko said “Western water users are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of environmental regulations and policies that are currently being rewritten or reconsidered by the Obama Administration. In particular, recent rulemaking efforts at EPA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality carry the risk of real potential harm for Western irrigators and the rural communities that they serve”. 

Some of Semanko’s concerns with EPA mentioned in his statement include:

  • An intent to broaden federal jurisdiction over an expanded number and variety of water bodies through the proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for the application of pesticides.
  • Using the draft Strategic Plan for 2011-2016 to take control of watershed and water planning activities from states.  
  • Regional offices guidance showing a clear bias against water storage projects.
  • The reconsideration of a 2008 EPA rule allowing water transfers from one water body to another without Clean Water Act permits.

Click here for a copy of Mr. Semanko's 18-pp written testimony.