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Rubio, Paul, Cruz Reintroduce the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2021

Jul 29, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in reintroducing the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2021 to limit federal overreach against American landowners. The legislation would update federal water policy by redefining “navigable waters,” excluding ephemeral or intermittent streams from federal jurisdiction, and restraining the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers. Senator Rubio has been a cosponsor of this bill each Congress since the 112th Congress. U.S. Representative David Rouzer (R-NC) will introduce companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
“Americans are tired of one-size fits-all federal overreach by Washington-based bureaucrats,” Rubio said. “The federal government should not be in the business of intervening in local matters, such as regulating impermanent waters with no clear connection to navigable waters. These decisions are best left to each respective state, and the people most affected. This legislation is a common-sense fix that will protect farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, small businesses, and the states from burdensome federal overreach.”
“While some would have us believe we can only protect the environment by giving the federal government more control over Americans’ lives, my bill shows we can act while still respecting Americans’ private property rights and the Constitution’s limits on federal power,” Paul said. “Kentucky’s farmers and coal industry suffered when the Obama administration implemented its burdensome WOTUS rule. Though the Trump administration replaced that rule, we know the new Biden administration will certainly try to return us to an unworkable scenario again. That’s why it’s now more important than ever to make an actual change to the law to fix the problem, and protect our land and invaluable industries.”
“Under the Biden administration, the scope of federal regulations over land and waterways is once again expanding,” Cruz said. “A new Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS, burdens hardworking Texas families, farmers, and ranchers by subjecting them to needless bureaucratic red tape by the EPA—red tape that does nothing to protect our land and environment. I have long said we can have both clean water and environmental protections that don’t stifle economic growth, job creation, or property rights of Americans. I am proud to cosponsor Sen. Paul’s bill to rein in the federal overreach of the EPA.”
The Defense of Environment and Property Act:

  • Defines “navigable waters” as “navigable-in-fact, or permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water that form geographical features commonly known as streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes that are connected to waters that are navigable-in-fact”
  • Clarifies the jurisdiction of the EPA and Corps of Engineers
  • States that “ground water” is State water and not to be considered in asserting Federal jurisdiction
  • Prohibits the use of a “significant nexus test”
  • Prohibits the EPA and Corps of Engineers from creating new rules defining “navigable waters” or expanding or interpreting the definition of “navigable waters” unless expressly authorized by Congress.