Graves: Congress seeks ways to curb regulatory overreach

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, center, talks with students Wednesday at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., after a town hall-style meeting with constituents. (H-W Photo/Doug Wilson)
Posted: Aug. 20, 2014 6:37 pm Updated: Sep. 3, 2014 7:15 pm

Herald-Whig Senior Writer

CANTON, Mo. -- U.S. Rep. Sam Graves said regulatory overreach is more than a nuisance -- it's a threat to the separation of powers set up in the U.S. Constitution.

Graves, a Republican from Tarkio, was in Canton on Wednesday for a town hall-style meeting with constituents at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. He said the Obama administration has directed federal agencies to create rules that failed to pass in Congress.

"We're seeing this particularly with the EPA," Graves said.

Congress did not approve a proposed law a few years ago that would have allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to control waters outside of navigable waterways. But the EPA now is seeking the power to control water not only in navigable waterways, but also "next to a jurisdictional water" or near a "significant nexus."

That broad and vague wording is intentional, Graves said.

"It would give them the power to control any water, anywhere," he said.

Congress also defeated the cap-and-trade rules that would have targeted carbon dioxide emissions. Now the EPA has been ordered by the president to draw up regulations that accomplish the same thing, Graves claimed.

"That's why a lawsuit has been filed against the president ... to get the judicial branch involved," he said.

To combat regulatory overreach, Graves said, Congress is considering a bill that would require legislative approval of any rules that would have an economic impact of $50 million or more. Another bill would require that federal agencies creating regulations that cost businesses or individuals money find ways to accomplish their goals at a lower cost to the affected entities or people.