Allen Statement on the Regulatory Integrity Act
WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the House passed H.R. 1004, the Regulatory Integrity Act by a vote of 246-176. This legislation increases transparency by requiring agencies to make information regarding regulatory actions publically available and prohibits agencies from lobbying or campaigning on behalf of a proposed rule.
Each year, as thousands of new regulations are issued, agencies are required to consider comments from the public during a period of notice and comment, with the intent to incorporate reasonable changes, but often that is not the case. Some agencies have worked to tilt the balance in their favor by actively campaigning for support for their proposal.
One recent case of this occurring was the EPA’s Waters of the United States proposed rule (WOTUS). The rule would significantly broaden the definition to extend the federal government’s regulatory authority over nearly all bodies of water, including creeks, streams and groundwater as well as drainage ditches, irrigation pipes and farmland ponds. While developing the rule, the Administration failed to properly consult state and local governments in developing its rule, undermining the federal-state partnership Congress intended to establish under the CWA. Additionally, during the rulemaking process, the EPA engaged in a grassroots lobbying effort to gain public support for WOTUS, urging the public to support the effort to counter the volume of comments in opposition from farming groups and industries alike. H.R. 1004 prohibits agencies from using their power position to influence a proposed rule.
“The rules and regulations process has gotten completely out of hand. These rules often reflect the interests of Washington insiders while ignoring input from hardworking American families outside the beltway. Look no further than the EPA’s WOTUS Rule, which would have undermined the rights of local landowners— in particular, America’s farmers. Instead of listening to folks across the country who labor day in and day out to contribute to our country’s agricultural economy, the EPA engaged in lobbying efforts to gain support for WOTUS by urging the general public to counter opposition from those in the agriculture industry.
The rules and regulations process is not a popularity contest or competition. Federal agencies should be ensuring feedback from affected industry groups is heard and considered. I was proud to support the Regulatory Integrity Act and urge my colleagues in the Senate to take up this no-nonsense legislation immediately.”
Congressman Allen has supported measures to prevent WOTUS from taking effect and recently introduced the Stop WOTUS Act, H.R. 1105, to fully repeal WOTUS, eliminating any potential for it to become a reality. On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to review WOTUS. Rep. Rick Allen released a statement praising his decision.