Editor’s Note: If, according to the Constitution, ALL LEGISLATIVE POWER belongs to Congress
how much LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY is left for:
The President? For the Judiciary? or Federal Agencies / Departments including the EPA?
(If you’ve been the victim of common core math you’ll likely come up with a different answer.)
Congress has a chance¹ to reassert itself against regulatory overreach.
The Senate has passed three Congressional Review Act (CRA) disapproval resolutions that would repeal the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineer’s water rule, and two EPA greenhouse gas rules targeting electric power plants. The ball is now in the House’s court.
Under the CRA, Congress is provided an expedited process to rescind rules through resolutions of disapproval. If enacted into law, a disapproval resolution prohibits the agency from issuing a rule that is in “substantially the same form” as the one that was repealed.
Now that the Senate has passed the three disapproval resolutions, the House is confronted with a critical decision as to whether it will address the Obama Administration’s environmental overreach.
Waters of the United States
The EPA and Army Corp’s rule known as the “waters of the United States”, or WOTUS seeks to regulate almost every type of water in this country. This could mean anything from certain man-made ditches to “streams” that are dry land almost all year – except after heavy rain.
Many property owners will likely have to secure more Clean Water Act (CWA) permits before engaging in even everyday activities, such as farming. The rule is so vague that property owners may not engage in certain activities simply out of fear of unknowingly violating the rule.
Further, under the Clean Water Act, states are supposed to play a leading role in implementation of the law. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers simply ignore states and concentrate power in Washington.
This arrogance undermines environmental protection itself. States are in a much better position to identify their water quality concerns and identify solutions that best meet their needs.
Not surprisingly, attorneys general and agencies from 31 states are suing the federal government. Counties, farmers, ranchers, home builders, manufacturers, and small businesses are opposed to the rule. This is just a sampling of the wide opposition. The Senate voted 53-44 in favor of the CRA disapproval resolution to rescind the WOTUS rule.
The House has already passed legislation (H.R. 1732) that would repeal the WOTUS rule. That vote was 261-155, with 24 Democrats voting in favor of the resolution. The CRA disapproval resolution (S.J. Res 22) also repeals the rule.
Some may claim that prohibiting any new rule from being in substantially the same form (as the CRA disapproval resolution does) is a major obstacle for the agencies.
That’s absurd. The meaning of “substantially the same form” isn’t clear, but given the wide deference that courts give to agencies, there would likely be significant leeway given to the agencies.
Furthermore, when Congress passes legislation to reject a rule, this is already a clear indication to agencies that any new rule shouldn’t be in substantially the same form (albeit, agencies may ignore the will of Congress).
Greenhouse Gas Regulations
The Clean Power Plan is comprised of two EPA greenhouse gas rules. One rule requires states to meet carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals for…
¹ No, they do not have a “Chance”. Congress has a SWORN DUTY to “bear truth faith and allegiance to the” Constitution. They have a DUTY to withdraw and declare null and void every stitch of “pretend legislation”. Admit the truth that none of it has constitutional authority nor force of law.