H.R. 4304 (112th): Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Mar 29, 2012 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

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112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4304

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 29, 2012

(for himself, Mr. Thompson of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Labrador) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

A BILL

To clarify the definition of navigable waters, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012.

2.

Navigable waters

(a)

In general

Section 502 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1362) is amended by striking paragraph (7) and inserting the following:

(7)

Navigable waters

(A)

In general

The term navigable waters means the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas, that are—

(i)

navigable-in-fact; or

(ii)

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.

(B)

Exclusions

The term navigable waters does not include—

(i)

waters that—

(I)

do not physically abut waters described in subparagraph (A); and

(II)

lack a continuous surface water connection to navigable waters;

(ii)

man-made or natural structures or channels—

(I)

through which water flows intermittently or ephemerally; or

(II)

that periodically provide drainage for rainfall; or

(iii)

wetlands without a continuous surface connection to bodies of water that are waters of the United States.

(C)

EPA and Corps activities

An activity carried out by the Administrator or the Corps of Engineers shall not, without explicit State authorization, impinge upon the traditional and primary power of States over land and water use.

(D)

Aggregation; wetlands

(i)

Aggregation

Aggregation of wetlands or waters not described in clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (B) shall not be used to determine or assert Federal jurisdiction.

(ii)

Wetlands

Wetlands described in subparagraph (B)(iii) shall not be considered to be under Federal jurisdiction.

(E)

Appeals

A jurisdictional determination by the Administrator that would affect the ability of a State to plan the development and use (including restoration, preservation, and enhancement) of land and water resources may be appealed by the State during the 30-day period beginning on the date of the determination.

(F)

Treatment of ground water

Ground water shall—

(i)

be considered to be State water; and

(ii)

not be considered in determining or asserting Federal jurisdiction over isolated or other waters, including intermittent or ephemeral water bodies.

.

(b)

Prohibition on use of nexus test

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency may not use a significant nexus test (as used by the Environmental Protection Agency in the document listed in section 3(a)(3) of this Act) to determine Federal jurisdiction over navigable waters and waters of the United States (as those terms are defined and used, respectively, in section 502 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1362)).

(c)

Applicability

Nothing in this section or the amendments made by this section affects or alters any exemption under—

(1)

section 402(l) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342(l)); or

(2)

section 404(f) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344(f)).

3.

Applicability of agency regulations and guidance

(a)

In general

The following regulations and guidance shall have no force or effect:

(1)

The final rule of the Corps of Engineers entitled Final Rule for Regulatory Programs of the Corps of Engineers (51 Fed. Reg. 41206 (November 13, 1986)).

(2)

The proposed rule of the Environmental Protection Agency entitled Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Clean Water Act Regulatory Definition of Waters of the United States (68 Fed. Reg. 1991 (January 15, 2003)).

(3)

The guidance document entitled Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Rapanos v. United States & Carabell v. United States (December 2, 2008) (relating to the definition of waters under the jurisdiction of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.)).

(4)

Any subsequent regulation of or guidance issued by any Federal agency that defines or interprets the term navigable waters.

(b)

Prohibition

The Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall not promulgate any rules or issue any guidance that expands or interprets the definition of navigable waters unless expressly authorized by Congress.

4.

State regulation of water

Nothing in this Act affects, amends, or supersedes—

(1)

the right of a State to regulate waters in the State; or

(2)

the duty of a landowner to adhere to any State nuisance laws (including regulations) relating to waters in the State.

5.

Consent for entry by Federal representatives

Section 308 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1318) is amended by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following:

(a)

In general

(1)

Entry by Federal agency

A representative of a Federal agency shall only enter private property to collect information about navigable waters if the owner of that property—

(A)

has consented to the entry in writing;

(B)

is notified regarding the date of the entry; and

(C)

is given access to any data collected from the entry.

(2)

Access

If a landowner consents to entry under paragraph (1), the landowner shall have the right to be present at the time any data collection on the property of the landowner is carried out.

.

6.

Compensation for regulatory taking

(a)

In general

If a Federal regulation relating to the definition of navigable waters or waters of the United States diminishes the fair market value or economic viability of a property, as determined by an independent appraiser, the Federal agency issuing the regulation shall pay the affected property owner an amount equal to twice the value of the loss.

(b)

Administration

Any payment provided under subsection (a) shall be made from the amounts made available to the relevant agency head for general operations of the agency.

(c)

Applicability

A Federal regulation described in subsection (a) shall have no force or effect until the date on which each landowner with a claim under this section relating to that regulation has been compensated in accordance with this section.