Central California Freshman GOP Representative John Duarte comes to Congress with a personal perspective on the Biden EPA and Army Corps’ enforcement of the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule—his own legal fight with the agencies.
“If the Army Corps of Engineers can prosecute me for planting wheat in this wheat field, based on the set of facts they used there, then almost no farm in America is safe from the same type of prosecution.”
One that resulted in hundreds of thousands in civil fines for Duarte, who now sits on House Ag, Natural Resources, and Transportation and Infrastructure—the latter with jurisdiction over the Army Corps.
“We need to fight to make sure producers can produce…that food producers can deliver abundant, affordable food for American consumers, and for the world.”
But Duarte hopes the Supreme Court in the pending Sackett vs. EPA case, puts the fight over WOTUS and the Clean Water Act to rest.
“We all hope, in agriculture, that the Supreme Court supports and reasserts what Congress clearly said, that the Clean Water Act has jurisdiction over navigable waters of the United States. It doesn’t say, adjacent waters, it doesn’t say waters separated by a roadway, or waters that have some future-defined significant nexus to waters of the United States.”
All possible interpretations the justices probed during arguments, and conservatives on the bench, challenged, leading Duarte to argue the new Biden WOTUS rule is premature.
“Cause once it comes down, I think the agencies are going to have very clear direction over what they do and don’t have authority over, under the Clean Water Act.”
And if they still don’t listen, Duarte says he and others on the Hill will exert their oversight authority to make sure EPA and the Army Corps finally ‘clear up the waters’ on WOTUS.