July 28, 2021

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) reintroduced the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2021 to get government off the backs of farmers and landowners. The legislation restores common sense to federal water policy by redefining “navigable waters,” excluding ephemeral or intermittent streams from federal jurisdiction, and restraining the power the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers hold over American landowners.

U.S. Representative David Rouzer (R-NC-7) plans to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. House. The Senate version of the bill is cosponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

“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,” said Dr. Paul. “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.”

“I’m proud to support this legislation by Senator Rand Paul that ensures no bureaucrat in Washington can dictate what our farm families, small businesses, local governments, and citizens can do on their property after a significant rainfall. This bill solidifies the clarity provided by the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule and prevents the EPA from reimposing overly burdensome and unnecessary regulations that would negatively impact our farm families, job creators and communities,” said Rep. Rouzer.

“Americans are tired of one-size fits-all federal overreach by Washington-based bureaucrats,” Sen. 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.”

“Under the Biden administration, the scope of federal regulations over land and waterways is once again expanding. 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,” said Sen. Cruz.

“We offer our thanks to Senator Rand Paul for introducing the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2021 as we look forward to the clarity such legislation would bring to the Waters of the U.S. issue. Farm families have always been on the forefront of good stewardship when it comes to natural resources, but we need to have some clear direction on the definition of navigable waterways that are defined in statue, not by regulations that are subject to change with every new administration. We believe this bill will do just that,” said Mark Haney, President of Kentucky Farm Bureau. 

Dr. Rand Paul’s 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.

You can read the Defense of Environment and Property Act in its entirety HERE.


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