Legislators urge AG Slatery to sue EPA

News release from Rep. Sheila Butt
NASHVILLE, July 8, 2015— On Wednesday, more than sixty Tennessee lawmakers led by State Representative Sheila Butt (R-Columbia), delivered a letter to Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery requesting he join Tennessee with twenty-seven other states that are initiating a lawsuit against the EPA, as well as, requesting that a federal judge declare the recent Waters of the United States rule illegal and order an emergency injunction against implementation of the rule.

“Today, I am requesting that the Attorney General for the State of Tennessee join with twenty-seven other states in challenging the EPA’s and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ new ‘waters of the U.S. rule.’ I understand there is a cost to litigation,” said Butt. “However, the cost of implementing this rule to the agriculture industry and the personal property rights of Tennesseans would be far more devastating.”

The letter reads, in part, “Due to the extreme consequences of the regulations in the new EPA and Army Corps of Engineers waters of the U.S. rule, we, the undersigned, request that you join twenty-seven other states who are challenging the rule that was finalized in May and would take effect at the end of August.”

State Senator Mae Beavers (R- Mt. Juliet) is among the state senators to have signed onto Butt’s letter.

“What we have here is an out of control federal agency, which has no constitutional authority to exist in the first place, usurping the power of Tennessee’s elected officials,” said Beavers while citing the Tenth Amendment. “I appreciate the leadership of Rep. Butt on this issue. Along with my colleagues, I am urging Attorney General Slatery to join this lawsuit.”

(Note: Text of the letter (with list of 63 signers) available by clicking on this link: Final Letter To AG RE EPA

Representatives Andy Holt (R-Dresden) and Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) are among the state representatives to sign Butt’s letter.

Holt, Vice-Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, pointed to recent actions taken against the EPA by the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court recently reprimanded the EPA for overstepping their authority in an unprecedented manner,” cited Holt. “On Tuesday, EPA Chief Gina McCarthy essentially told the press that the EPA could care less what the Court said. This unconstitutional federal agency is out of control. Whether they are targeting farmers, terrorizing businesses or simply trampling the rights of homeowners on their own property, it is obvious that the EPA is an agenda driven creation of big government. The by-product of this onerous entity, hell-bent on ‘saving us from ourselves’, is causing consumers, homeowners, farmers and small business owners extreme economic and regulatory burden with zero accountability.”

The Tennessee Farm Bureau and multiple agriculture associations across the state are supportive of the efforts by lawmakers to join Tennessee to the lawsuit.

“I share the concerns of my constituents, farmers, the Farm Bureau, and the attorney generals of many surrounding states in that the Waters of the United States rule is an overreach of the EPA that encroaches on states’ rights,” said Terry. “I hope that Attorney General Slatery will take a stand, knowing that he has our full support.”

Butt urged that now was the time for action.

“The emergency injunction to immediately stop implementation of the rule is key. Times arise when we are called to stand on principle in order to protect the citizens of Tennessee and their livelihood,” said Butt. “This is one of those times.”

Note: There are 63 signatures, 12 senators and 51 representatives. All are Republicans but two, Reps. John DeBerry of Memphis and David Shepard of Dickson. A recent Politico story on the national controversy over the EPA “Waters of the United States” rule is HERE.