Posted Sep. 21, 2014 @ 5:48 pm
Updated Sep 21, 2014 at 6:00 PM

A bill approved this month blocking the federal government from asserting regulatory authority over many of the nation’s streams and wetlands was heralded by Rep. Paul Cook, R-Apple Valley, for protecting control of local waters.

But Cook’s challenger in the 8th Congressional District, Democrat Bob Conaway, said the bill is simply another roadblock from opponents of the Clean Water Act.

Passed 262-152 by the Republican-controlled House on Sept. 9, the bill blocks a rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to clarify which streams and waterways are shielded from development under the Clean Water Act, an issue that remains in dispute even after two U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Thirty-five Democrats joined 227 Republicans to support the bill.

“H.R. 5078 will stop the federal government from intruding into affairs that should be made at the state level,” Cook said in a statement last week. “It’s important to ensure that any actions taken by the EPA or the Army Corp of Engineers regarding California’s water supply be made in conjunction with recommendations put forth by state and local officials.”

Cook also said the bill would maintain the traditional partnership created in the Clean Water Act between the state and federal government, allowing for “meaningful local involvement in decision-making.”

Agriculture groups and farm-state politicians also call the EPA’s proposed rule a power grab that would allow the government to dictate what farmers can do on their own land.

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