|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 9.1.14
Monday, September 1, 2014 ‚Äď
Leading from Behind
Civilized people are appalled by the barbaric murder of American journalist Jim Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A week after ISIS distributed video of Foley‚Äôs tragic murder, President Obama in a press conference responded to questions about potential plans for action in Syria by saying, ‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt have a strategy yet.‚ÄĚ
Hmmmm. Is this the poker face of a man with a plan, or is it a gaffe? I fear it is the latter.
According to the Washington Post, ‚ÄúPolls have increasingly shown that Americans view Obama as a weak commander in chief without much direction or heft to his foreign policy.‚ÄĚ Reviewing the situation with Russia and Ukraine, Iran, the Boko Haram in Nigeria, North Korea, the Chinese claiming two international shipping channels in the South China Sea, etc., I agree with those people who regrettably believe the President has a weak foreign policy.
The threat posed by ISIS is real and continues to increase. The Russian threat to Ukraine and the chaos generally in the Middle East are real threats to American interests.
President Obama cannot continue leading from behind. He and his Administration must have a firm grasp ‚Äď a solid strategy ‚Äď for exercising leadership and working with our nation‚Äôs allies. The President must have a steady hand in managing world affairs.
This sometimes means even working with some leaders who may not be our best friends. After all, as the old saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Russia must be checked, and ISIS must be defeated. The President is the Commander in Chief, and needs a policy of strength and resolve.
If the President needs to take significant military action, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) is right. He must ask Congress for authority.
Government Control of Water
I often speak and write of overreaching Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. In what appears to be another power grab, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed what is commonly known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which could expand EPA‚Äôs jurisdiction.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that the WOTUS rule ‚Äú‚Ä¶would categorically regulate as ‚Äėnavigable waters‚Äô countless ephemeral drains, ditches and other features across the countryside that are wet only when it rains and may be miles from the nearest truly ‚Äėnavigable‚Äô water. It would also regulate small, remote ‚Äėwetlands‚Äô ‚Äď which may be nothing more than low spots on a farm field ‚Äď just because those areas happen to be adjacent to a ditch or located in a floodplain.‚ÄĚ
What might the WOTUS rule do if it were officially promulgated? It might enable the EPA to dictate to farmers, land owners, economic developers, local governments, and others where they may or may not build fences, where they may or may not dig ditches, and more. When there are heavy rains in the mountains, there are many small streams which may only have water three or four times a year. Under these new regulations, land owners may be forced to chop up pastureland and fence these ‚Äúdry branches‚ÄĚ off, making it difficult to farm.
Many coal mines are being shuttered. Now the EPA wants to control use of our land. If we can‚Äôt use coal and if we can‚Äôt build or dig in the mountains, what are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to transition our economy as envisioned by the progressives?
‚ÄúUnder this plan, there‚Äôd be no body of water in America including mud puddles and canals that wouldn‚Äôt be at risk from job-destroying federal regulation,‚ÄĚ House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) said. ‚ÄúThis dramatic expansion of federal government control will directly impact the livelihoods and viability of farmers and small businesses in rural America.‚ÄĚ
EPA maps of the country‚Äôs waters and wetlands appear to show the EPA‚Äôs plans to control significant amounts of property across the 50 States. These concerning maps, recently released by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, can be found at http://science.house.gov/epa-maps-state-2013.
In May, I joined 230 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle in urging the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw their overreaching WOTUS rule. I believe that state and local governments ought to remain in control of decisions of this nature. I remain opposed to the WOTUS rule, and will continue working to fight it and other overreaching EPA actions.
As always, if you have concerns or comments or wish to inquire about legislative issues, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.