Why am I so tough on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Because this agency is supposed to protect the environment, but all it seems to do is protect radical environmentalists and make life more difficult for Missourians.

Now folks in the west are being forced to learn a lesson that we already know – the EPA operates at the expense of you, the taxpayers.

Earlier this month, the EPA caused a state of emergency by accidentally releasing three million gallons of toxic waste into a river system, affecting the water supply in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. This contamination went into the drinking supply, recreational water, and irrigation systems.

The EPA failed to acknowledge the incident or notify affected surrounding communities for days after the dangerous spill. It’s simply unacceptable, and I sent a letter to the EPA Administrator demanding answers on how and why this specific incident happened. I want to know who will be held accountable. I also am seeking information on what statutory authority allowed the EPA to operate in Colorado’s Gold King Mine in the first place. Americans across the country deserve answers.

The EPA’s pollution of the river out west comes just as they are trying to gain greater federal authority over private land with its new Waters of the United States rule. This would regulate virtually every place that water flows in the United States. Gutters, drainage ditches, and puddles could all come under federal scrutiny, heaping additional piles of regulations on top of farmers, businesses, and law-abiding citizens. The EPA does not deserve this unchecked authority, and I recently added language to the Energy & Water funding bill to block the EPA from using any funds to implement this damaging rule.

It’s time to go a step further and empower the folks of Missouri to decide our state’s environmental needs. We know Missouri’s land and water best. Environmental policies don’t just affect our farmers and ranchers, but families across the state. Those policies should be made by Missourians instead of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. We would be better off without the EPA.

Jason Smith represents Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Contact him at 573-335-0101 or visit

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