Rounds Questions Witnesses on Misguided EPA Methodology Used in WOTUS Rulemaking Process

Rounds Questions Witnesses on Misguided EPA Methodology Used in WOTUS Rulemaking Process

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW), today at a hearing questioned methods used to write the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) proposal. Last month, Rounds joined his colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation to curb the effects of WOTUS if it is implemented. A final rule is expected this week.

“The WOTUS rule would greatly expand EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act and could impose dramatic new regulatory costs on American farmers, ranchers and landowners,” said Rounds. “EPA came to the wrong conclusion when determining what constitutes a significant nexus of water when seeking scientific advice to expand its jurisdiction. Today’s hearing allowed me to ask questions about EPA’s methodology in proposing the WOTUS rule. With reports surfacing just this week about EPA manufacturing support for WOTUS, it is as important as ever to question the validity of their approach and intent.”

EPA and the Corps of Engineers have proposed to expand the scope of federal authority over land and water to encompass all water in a flood plain, manmade water management systems, and water that infiltrates into the ground or moves overland, and any other water that they decide has a “significant nexus” to downstream water based on use by animals, insects and birds, and water storage considerations, shifting the focus of the Clean Water Act from water quality protection and navigable waters to habitat and water supply.


US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Reliable, Affordable Energy

Reliable, Affordable Energy
By Senator Mike Rounds
May 15, 2015

Last summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants. Self-titled the “Clean Power Plan,” the rule would require power plants across the country to comply with costly new rules and regulations that would reduce energy production and raise electricity rates – with little environmental benefit. South Dakotans could see their electricity rates double due to the Clean Power Plan. For those of us who oppose higher taxes and believe in a comprehensive “North American” energy policy, stopping the Clean Power Plan is an important first step.

As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over EPA, I recently joined my colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation to roll back the President’s Clean Power Plan. The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA) would make certain consumers have reliable and affordable access to energy, put jobs and our economy first and curb federal overreach. It would protect ratepayers from rate increases and prevent EPA from enforcing overly burdensome regulations on American consumers. It would also force EPA to submit a report to Congress describing the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions the Clean Power Plan is expected to reduce, as well as show the science used to develop the rule.

Most importantly, ARENA would give states more flexibility if the Clean Power Plan is enacted by allowing them more time to comply with the regulations. It would also force EPA to issue state-specific model plans demonstrating how each state could meet the required emissions reductions under the rule. State highway funds would also be protected in our bill by preventing EPA from withholding the highway funds from any states who are in noncompliance.

In South Dakota, the Clean Power Plan threatens the existence of the only coal-fired power plant in South Dakota at Big Stone, which is already in the midst of a $400 million compliance upgrade. If the proposal is enacted, Big Stone would only be allowed to operate at an annual capacity factor of just 23 percent, which is both uneconomical and practically impossible. This would essentially shut down the plant, all while it’s in the middle of a major, expensive upgrade to comply with a different set of EPA regulations.

Not only does this threaten the nearly 100 jobs at Big Stone, but it would increase energy costs for South Dakotans and reduce energy reliability.  The hundreds of millions of dollars currently being invested to comply with EPA rules would be a stranded investment.

Americans must continue to have access to reliable, affordable energy. People deserve to know that their homes will be heated in South Dakota’s freezing cold winters, and that their lights will turn on when they flip the switch. The ARENA legislation would help provide peace of mind for ratepayers. It would provide reliable energy to power South Dakota’s agricultural and manufacturing industries. It also goes one step further in limiting the number of burdensome, unnecessary regulations imposed not by lawmakers, but by unelected bureaucrats at the EPA. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated his interest in bringing ARENA to the Senate floor for consideration. I look forward to having that debate.


Rounds Applauds Inclusion of His B-1 Bomber and Defense Health Care Provisions in National Defense Bill

Rounds Applauds Inclusion of His B-1 Bomber and Defense Health Care Provisions in National Defense Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today applauded the committee’s passage of the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included several provisions he offered. Provisions of Rounds’ bills to protect B-1 bombers from premature retirement and improve the health care of our service members, military retirees and their families were included in the final NDAA that passed out of committee today.

“I commend my fellow committee members on both sides of the aisle for advancing legislation that will supply our Armed Forces with the tools they need to successfully complete their missions,” said Rounds. “In these dangerous times for our nation and the world, I was pleased to see members of both parties work together effectively to advance this important legislation.

“I’m also pleased that several provisions I offered to improve our defense system were included in the final package. I thank my colleagues for supporting these common sense provisions.”

The NDAA also included language Rounds offered to help develop the Air Force’s new bomber and improve the Pentagon workforce that develops new weapons.


Rounds Urges Senate Democrats to End Filibuster of TPA

Rounds Urges Senate Democrats to End Filibuster of TPA

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today voted in favor of allowing debate on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation on the floor of the Senate.  TPA would strengthen the hand of the U.S. when entering into trade negotiations with foreign nations. Despite widespread bipartisan support for TPA, the vote failed 52-45. Every president since FDR has been granted TPA through 2007.

“I’m disappointed that Senate Democrats are putting politics before policy and blocking debate on TPA legislation,” said Rounds. “TPA promotes job growth here at home by allowing us to negotiate stronger, more enforceable international trade agreements that benefit our producers. As we negotiate trade deals in the Pacific region and other parts of the world, TPA will make certain that we have a strong voice in the global marketplace. In South Dakota, trade supports more than 124,000 jobs and results in billions of dollars of exports. I encourage Senate Democrats to work with us to pass TPA so we can open new markets for farmers, ranchers and business owners whose livelihoods depend on free and fair trade.”

Renewing bipartisan trade promotion authority would empower our negotiators to come up with the best trade agreements possible, making certain that American priorities always come first. America hasn’t signed any new trade deals in the past five years. Meanwhile, an estimated 400 trade agreements have been implemented around the world. In the past 40 years, only one trade agreement has passed without TPA.


Rounds Introduces Legislation to Streamline Tricare for Service Members and Military Retirees

Rounds Introduces Legislation to Streamline Tricare
for Service Members and Military Retirees

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, today introduced legislation to streamline the process for service members and military retirees enrolled in Tricare health plans when they move from one Tricare region to another. The current system for transferring Tricare beneficiaries is often ineffective, resulting in unnecessary delays.

“For our service members and military retirees, who have given so much while serving our country, making simple changes to streamline transfer of their health care is the least we can do,” said Rounds. “Often times, jobs within the military require our service members to move to different parts of the nation. Relocating – which includes saying goodbye to coworkers, packing one’s belongings and adapting to a new job – can be daunting enough for service members and military families. They shouldn’t have to worry about their access to health care benefits on top of everything else. My legislation seeks to simplify the transfer process and give our military families the health care certainty they deserve.”

Rounds’ legislation makes changes to the Tricare program within the Department of Defense so beneficiaries can seamlessly access health care in each region through:

  • Enacting automatic electronic transfer of enrollment information; and
  • Facilitating beneficiaries’ ability to obtain a new primary care provider within 10 days of moving to a new region.


Rounds Introduces Legislation to Protect B-1 Bombers at Ellsworth from Premature Retirement

Rounds Introduces Legislation to Protect B-1 Bombers
at Ellsworth from Premature Retirement

U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today introduced bipartisan legislation that would add congressional oversight of any decision to retire the B-1, B-2 or B-52 bomber aircraft. The Long Range Bomber Sustainment Act of 2015 prevents the retirement of aircraft in the current bomber force unless the Department of Defense certifies that it would not result in a loss of operational capability. There are currently 27 B-1 bombers located at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Box Elder, South Dakota.

“Long-range bombers play an important role in our national defense strategy,” said Rounds. “The current fleet, which is wisely stationed throughout the country, enables the United States to project military power to distant locations around the world. While we can expect some bomber retirements as we develop the new Long Range Strike Bomber, it is critical the turnover does not lead to an insufficient number of bombers in our fleet. Our Air Force must remain the most capable in the world. A strong, properly-supported bomber force will help make that happen.”

Original cosponsors of the Long Range Bomber Sustainment Act of 2015 include Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).


Bosworth allies claiming GOP war against Christians, and that Jackley prosecuted at Rounds’ behest.

As we inch closer and closer to the day Annette Bosworth is going to have to explain in a court of law how she certified, under oath, that she collected petition signatures in South Dakota while she was overseas, the level of rhetoric from her allies continues to rise from silly to the level of unbelievable bullsh*t.

This past weekend, we had 2 articles written on the topic. One, an error filled missive from Constitution Party regular Lori Stacey (who thinks HIV is a hoax, and the Government is purposefully killing bees to replace them with robots) spews forth a bunch of words, some she read on the Internet:

One of the ridiculous aspects for any charges being filed against her was actually pointed out by one of her former primary election opponents, Gordon Howie, on his blog “The Right Side Blog”.  (WRONG, he ran in the general as an indy – PP)


In fact, a far greater violation of law regarding petition gathering and a much more unusual violation was claimed to be committed previously by a Republican Speaker of the House when it was alleged that he acted as his own official notary on his own candidate petitions. Not only were there no criminal charges ever filed against him by the same state officials involved in this case against Dr. Bosworth, instead, the would-be candidate and whistleblower who made the allegations was sued and eventually slapped with a $40,000 judgement against her for speaking out.  (WRONG AGAIN, Read here. These were court costs awarded against her for a lawsuit she lost. badly. -PP )

With her trial date looming near and scheduled to begin on May 18, 2015, an article recently published on Christian Newswire titled, “South Dakota GOP’s Secret War Against Christians” reveals some breaking newsworthy developments regarding this case. This article states in part:

The abundance of documented evidence collected during a three-week investigation alleges that South Dakota’s Division of Criminal Investigation (“DCI”) agents stalked, surveilled and visited Christian families at their homes before the all-in-important June 2014 Primary.

The full story on Christian Newswire can be found here. This breaking story could vindicate Dr. Bosworth’s numerous references during her campaign regarding supporters complaining that they felt they were being watched by “black vans”. These statements were used to smear her as “crazy”, a “nut job” and “mentally ill” by political bloggers in the state and she was berated by many in the official press. So was Bosworth acting crazy and criminal or has this state’s government become crazed with bold criminality?

Read it here.

Looking at the Lori Stacey article, which are typically over the top, I had to go check out her sources to see if they were equally as silly. And of course, they didn’t disappoint. here we have an article from robocaller Peter Waldron, who seems to spout the same BS we’d read about in Annette Bosworth fundraising letters about “black vans.”  Which the state doesn’t own:

Dr. Peter Waldron states, “If South Dakota is an example of Establishment Republican rule, then I fear for the nation if a Republican-in-name-only (“RINO”) is elected president in 2016.”

The abundance of documented evidence collected during a three-week investigation alleges that South Dakota’s Division of Criminal Investigation (“DCI”) agents stalked, surveilled and visited Christian families at their homes before the all-in-important June 2014 Primary.

Such tactics achieved its apparent goal – it scared voters away from the polls.

The anecdotal evidence points to possible coordination between the eventual winner, former governor, now US Senator Mike Rounds (SD-R) and the man he handpicked to be Attorney General, Marty Jackley.

Furthermore, the sequence of events and circumstances surrounding the pre-primary state prosecution of Republican candidate Dr. Annette Bosworth, a popular Christian missionary and physician, are suspicious.

Read this silliness here.

I’m not sure what to say about this silliness, except “Show me.”  Show everyone the evidence collected in this so-called ‘investigation.’   Show us the “evidence” of “coordination between Rounds & Jackley.”

Somehow, I don’t think it will ever happen. Why? because it doesn’t exist. The only thing that we’ve been shown is a ridiculous media effort by Bosworth allies to attack the prosecution, obfuscate very simple facts in the matter, and attempt to sway public opinion.

Truth doesn’t need a robocall campaign.

US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Giving Back

Giving Back
By Senator Mike Rounds

MikeRounds official SenateWe are just a few weeks from Memorial Day, a federal holiday designated for honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedom. As we prepare to recognize the brave men and women in uniform, I am reminded just how fortunate we are for all those who answer the call to serve.

Our armed forces are the epitome of public servants, sacrificing everything to keep us free and safe. But there are many ways in which we give back to our communities to promote the greater good. For 30 years, the first week of May has been designated “Public Service Recognition Week” to recognize those who serve as federal, state, county and local government employees. These are the men and women that make sure our streets our safe, our veterans receive their benefits, our food is safe for consumption and our children are properly educated. Their work can be felt in nearly everything that we do.

Law enforcement officials and first responders also play a critical role in protecting our nation. They are on the front lines of crises and terror here at home. I recently cosponsored a resolution that continues our nation’s tradition of honoring our law enforcement annually. Our resolution designates May 10-16, 2015, as National Police Week, encouraging all Americans to show their appreciation for members of our law enforcement. Police officers put their lives on the line every day to pursue justice and keep our communities safe. I encourage you to take time to thank a law enforcement officer during National Police Week.

Giving back doesn’t have to be a full time job. Many of us donate our time in addition to family, school and career commitments. In 2014, South Dakota ranked 7th in the nation for volunteerism. That includes those who serve in all-volunteer fire departments, which protect many of our communities in South Dakota. I myself belong to the Elks Club in Pierre, as well as the Pierre-Fort Pierre Exchange Club, both of which promote fellowship and volunteerism. I find the work these organizations do to be extremely rewarding.

I recently met with two high school students from South Dakota who were visiting Washington, D.C., to celebrate their national awards for community involvement. One created a program to make, collect and distribute holiday cards to active military men and women and veterans. The other raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network. Neither of these students were required to volunteer for school credit. Rather, they saw a need in their communities and stepped in to fill it. Their leadership and compassion at such a young age is truly inspiring.

Amidst some of the partisanship in Washington and violence going on in places like Baltimore, it’s easy to get discouraged in today’s world. This makes it as important as ever to remember the good work being done by millions of Americans every day in all shapes and forms. From our men and women in uniform to ordinary citizens who volunteer to better their communities, we are incredibly fortunate to be amidst so many dedicated public servants. I’m grateful for everyone working to keep our communities, our state, our country and this world a better place than they left it.


Rounds looking for more oversight of EPA, Fish & Wildlife, & Corps of Engineers through existing rules

US Senator Mike Rounds is looking for more oversight of government divisions such as the EPA, the US Fish & Wildlife, and the Army Corps of Engineers – all familiar entities to many South Dakotans – through enforcement of already existing oversight rules, and relying on inspector generals to do their job:

Senate oversight of federal agencies will rely more heavily on the work of inspectors general and the Government Accountability Office to root out waste, fraud and abuse, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) told Bloomberg BNA May 7.

Rounds, the new chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, said he would like to rely more on the existing work of the inspectors general and GAO in overseeing the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“In the past, I think the inspectors general have not been utilized fully and, in some cases, it would appear they have not had the ear of the subcommittee to go through,” Rounds said in an interview. “I don’t intend to have a flash in the pan where we’re out looking for something to make a headline. What I want is good government.”

Rounds said he wants to improve the function of the federal agencies. That may not mean introducing new legislation but instead ensuring that existing rules and procedures are used properly.

Read it all here.