Gov. Sam Brownback, Kansas Ag Secretary Jackie McClaskey and Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Secretary Bob Moser signed and sent a letter last week asking the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the proposed waters of the U.S. rule. According to the Kansas officials, the draft regulation would greatly expand EPA’s regulatory power and have a significant negative impact on the state’s agriculture and energy industries.
Brownback called the proposal an “unlawful and unconstitutional attempt to assert federal jurisdiction over local water and land use.” KDHE officials project the proposed EPA rule would increase the number of classified stream miles subject to federal jurisdiction from the current 30,000 to 174,000. Brownback said the rule would make it impossible for farmers, developers and homeowners to know what routine business practices could be carried out without obtaining an expensive federal permit.
“Kansans have had enough of this kind of federal overreach,” the Kansas governor said. “My administration will continue to fight back against this continued pattern of disregard for business, industry and farm and ranch families.”
State officials noted during an October 24 news conference that Kansas already has adequate laws in place to protect waters that fall under state jurisdiction. The proposed EPA rule, they said, would be redundant and a costly infringement on the state’s rights without providing any significant benefits. These concerns will be part of official comments the state will file before the November 14 deadline.
KLA was among more than a dozen agriculture and energy-related organizations present at the governor’s news conference to express concern about the proposed rule.