Utah’s representatives, senators oppose new water rule from federal agencies

Posted at 6:32 PM, May 28, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's congressional delegation is unanimous: they say the Obama administration is overreaching with a new clean water rule.

"The EPA is essentially saying if there is a puddle in your backyard, we can regulate that," said Rep. Chris Stewart, a Republican who represents Utah's Second Congressional District.

The rule defines the water that the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are supposed to regulate under the Federal Clean Water Act.

Under the definition, the federal agencies have authority over waters that cross state lines and the ocean, plus their tributaries and any waters adjacent to or in a floodplain leading to them.

Rush Valley farmer and rancher Leland Hogan thinks the EPA will have authority over the water that occasionally flows through a ditch on his land, and he thinks their goal is the power that comes with control of water.

"I think they want control over as much property as they can get, and water is how you control the West," Hogan said.

Dr. Brian Moench, President of Physicians for a Health Environment, disagrees--saying the regulations are about keeping drinking water safe.

"We are profoundly disappointed that our entire Congressional delegation is lining up to oppose a step like this that will improve public health for so many people," Moench said.