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Reed Feels EPA Has Too Much Overreach As Rep. Calls For Nix

A House bill is targeting the termination of a federal branch that’s tasked with protecting the human and health environment.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced legislation that would bring an end to the Environmental Protection Agency. Full details on the bill haven’t been made public yet, but a summary is in progress.

Legislation has four supporters with Gaetz as the bill’s sponsor and U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., and Barry Loudermilk, R-Georgia., as co-sponsors.

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed said during a conference call last week with reporters that he wasn’t yet familiar with the bill. Reed, R-Corning, said one of the biggest problems facing the EPA is its overreach and lack of cost-benefit approach to regulations they implement.

While he wouldn’t say how he would vote if the legislation came to the floor, Reed said he does support regulations that are reasonable.

“There’s definitely a mission of the EPA in regards to protecting our environment that I can support,” he said. “When you start seeing the EPA regulate drainage ditches on farms in Chautauqua County, to me, that just doesn’t make any sense. When you start seeing the EPA regulate spilled milk in our dairy farms of Chautauqua County as hazardous oil waste, to me, that’s not based on common sense.”

Locally, the area has been a benefactor of EPA funding. In 2014, the agency provided the city of Jamestown with $200,000 to assess abandoned and contaminated properties. Funding was awarded through the EPA’s Brownfield Program, which helps communities assess, clean up, redevelop and reuse contaminated properties.

Since the inception of the EPA’s Brownfields program in 1995, cumulative brownfield program investments have leveraged billions of dollars from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities.

Reed said the introduction of legislation is a recognition of a delegation of authority over time from Congress to the executive branch.

Reed said they need to ensure Congress retains power in the legislative process.

“I think there’s a multi-pronged approach that can be deployed both on the regulatory side as well as legislative initiative,” he said. “What I’ve seen over the last six to eight years is the expansion of EPA regulatory powers to a level that to me has been way too excessive. I think you need to bring a level of reasonableness into the agency and that’s the focus I’m committed to having going forward.”

Legislation was referred to various House committees for consideration. Gaetz told the Northwest Daily News that if successful, the EPA would cease existing come the end of 2018.

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has gone at the EPA by halting grants and contracts while cutting the agency’s communications. Trump’s pick to lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt, hasn’t been confirmed as Senate Democrats continue to voice their criticism.

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