Taft's famous Sandy Creek back in the spotlight
Sandy Creek, the dry wash that bisects the community of Taft, was brought up on the floor of the United States House of Representatives Tuesday.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy used the controversial ditch as an example of federal regulations hamstringing business and economic growth as he spoke in favor of a house resolution called the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014.
H.R. 5078, as it is known, was drafted in response to concerns that the Environmental Protection Agency could declare even dry streams bodies of water and place them under their regulatory control.
McCarthy, now the Houser Majority leader, has dealt with Sandy Creek before.
As a freshman in the California Assembly, he helped the City of Taft avoid construction of a costly water treatment plant for wastewater that was going into Sandy Creek.
That was one a along list pof problems that began when Sandy Creek was declared a “navigable waterway” by the United States Army Corp of engineers.
Tuesday, he spoke again about regulations on the dry ditch, this time in Washington D.C.
Here is the complete text of his remarks:
“Well I thank the gentleman for yielding, and Mr. Chairman I rise today against an awful, unlawful expansion of federal power.
“The EPA’s attempt at an unprecedented power grab will ultimately saddle the hardworking Americans, small businesses, and farmers with new onerous regulatory burdens.
“Under this proposed new rule, the EPA will be able to claim jurisdiction over almost all bodies of water in the U.S. So along with the bays and rivers, the EPA’s hand will extend over streams, ponds, ditches, and even storm-water runoff.
“Beyond sounding ridiculous, this rule will impact farmers, energy producers, and any private citizens that use their land for economic or recreational purposes.
“It is harmful and unnecessary. Now, I live in the West. The West is burdened right now with the drought. Some of that drought is based upon excess regulations that pick a fish over people, that water will run out to the ocean because of a regulation and a lawsuit.
“Now I’ve seen where regulatory effects and burdens have gone before. I have a town in my community called Taft. It’s a hard-working town like many of you have. And the EPA has been a part of it before. It’s a town that could be anywhere in America. And it had a waterway that the EPA said, and it was called Sandy Creek.
“The only challenge though in Sandy Creek: it was a dry ditch. It had been dry for 30 years. So when they [Taft] came to me and they wanted to be able to move forward, they found that the federal government was trying to impose a permitting regulation—an excess regulation—on this private land.
“I had to personally call, and they said, ‘No, you could not do it because of the creek.’ I had to bring an individual all the way out, drive them out to the dried dirt, sit them in the dry creek bed until finally they said, ‘Yes.’
“Well, under the new bill, in fact, Sandy Creek will not be dry any more from the aspect that the burdensome regulation will be back on it. It could be redesignated and we will not be able to grow again.
“Mr. Chairman, we are struggling with job creation in America. We are struggling where small businesses are trying to make ends meet. Milk prices are at an all-time high. Why would we burden America with more regulation? Why would we not unshackle what holds us back and let us be able to grow and let people keep their private lands and protect our water, but do it in a sense that has common sense? I yield back.”