AMARILLO, TEXAS — United States Congressman Mac Thornberry is working to protect private property owners from what he says is an over-reach by government agencies.
Thornberry met with farmers and ranchers to discuss how he is seeking to clarify the definition of “Navigable Waters” in the Clean Water Act to help protect people from regulatory expansion by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“The idea the EPA could come in and regulate all of that land where water stands every 50 years is something we just can’t abide,” said Thornberry. “It’s a matter of private property rights and it’s a matter of trying to prevent Washington D.C. from controlling our lives.”
Some of the farmers and ranchers in attendance for Wednesday’s meeting at Caldwell Banker feel the EPA is not operating so much like a regulatory agency as they are an activist group.
“They’ve got an agenda they’re trying to push,” said Joe Leather, rancher. “It’s so broad people don’t realize how it’s going to financially effect them. It will adversely effect people financially in every aspect.”
Washington attorney Tom Sell said both sides must meet to try and reduce the divide on this issue.
“The first step is understanding,” said Sell. “This way people can know how to approach the issue. There will be bills put forward before Congress. There have been bills there now and there will be more bills. This will be an area of controversy.”
Congressman Thornberry said his efforts in writing H.R. 2705 is designed to balance the scales so it’s not all about control from the Federal Government.
“The House has already passed two bills to try and slow down the bad regulations,” said Thornberry. “I’ve introduced a bill to try and put in common sense for any future regulation that the EPA might want to come up with.”
Thornberry’s bill H.R. 2705 is awaiting hearing from Congress.