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Waters of the U.S. Rule Blocked in 13 States by Federal Judge

A federal judge with the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota Aug. 27 blocked implementation in 13 states of the“Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) final rule that was issued May 27 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The final rule, which dramatically expands the scope of federal authority over water and land uses across the country, is still effective as of Aug. 28 for the states not covered by the decision. 

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Senators Urge Agencies to Withdraw Proposed “Blacklisting” Rules for Federal Contractors

U.S. Senate committee leaders Aug. 6 urged the Obama administration to pull its “incomplete” guidance proposal to implement the Obama administration’s “blacklisting” Executive Order 13673 and suspend its related proposed rule until the entire proposal is completed. 

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USACE Memos Show Concerns over ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule

The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently released a set of memos from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps or USACE) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that stated their concerns with the“Waters of the U.S.” rule (WOTUS). The rule dramatically expands the scope of federal authority over water and land uses across the country.  The rule has been finalized and is set to go into effect on Aug. 28.

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Blacklisting Proposal’s Comment Deadline Extended

The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council and the U.S. Department of Labor issued a second extension for submitting comments on the proposal implementing President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673, commonly referred to as the “blacklisting” executive order, by 15 days to Aug. 26. The extension comes as a result of Republican leaders of three congressional committees requesting an extension of the comment period.

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President Obama and EPA Announce Final Clean Power Plan

On Aug. 3, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final Clean Power Plan, which will cut power plant carbon emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels, by 2030. The rule is among several released by EPA that will increase compliance and transaction costs while creating uncertainty for America’s small businesses.

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Legislative Update
The House is in recess this week but will return Monday, May 19th.  When Representatives return to Washington, appropriations will continue to be a top priority for ABC staff.