Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Shifting The Focus From Permitting To Progress

Congressman Robert Hurt's Weekly Column


Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of landowners, allowing challenges to federal regulatory decisions affecting personal property rights via ‎U.S. Army Corps of Engineers vs. Hawkes.  The Army Corps of Engineers is notorious for imposing an excessively broad and burdensome approach to the Clean Water Act (CWA) on individuals and businesses alike.  Their permitting process is far more than just filling out a piece of paper – rather, it can be a year's long struggle costing landowners and small businesses thousands of dollars, only to be denied for activities that do not, in fact, violate the CWA. ‎


Though I am grateful the Supreme Court stood up to the Corps' unreasonable permitting process, its long history of regulatory overreach has stood in the way of crucial job creation, including in our own backyard, and that has to change.


One example of this problem is the Corps' treatment of farm ponds.  For many years, the agency has ignored provisions in the CWA that promote agriculture and forestry activity, which frustrates the growth of those two vital industries.  I have worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to push back on this regulatory overreach, and this week's court decision recognizes that the Corps' enforcement practices and excessively broad interpretation of the CWA clearly have significant consequences for private property rights and the economy that must be addressed.


The onerous Corps' process has also hindered major economic development initiatives in Southside Virginia.  Local officials in Danville-Pittsylvania County have recently worked together to acquire permits from the Corps to develop the Berry Hill mega park, a proposed economic development site aimed at attracting new manufacturing enterprises.  The site is undoubtedly well-situated to generate economic activity, however, yet again, the regulatory obstacles presented by the Army Corps of Engineers have impeded its progress and thus job creation.


To remedy this frustrating problem, I introduced bipartisan legislation along with Representative Morgan Griffith and Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, known as theCommonsense Permitting for Job Creation Act, to scale back the Corps' arduous permitting process.  This bill specifies that the lack of a committed end-user company should not be a reason to deny a permit that meets all other legal requirements.  If passed, our legislation would effectively remove the regulatory roadblock that is preventing projects like Berry Hill from proceeding.  It is essential that we continue to fight this federal red tape in order to ensure our economy and our fundamental rights are not obstructed for our future generations by a permitting process. 


This past week's dismal jobs report, which found that the economy only created 38,000 jobs last month, underscores the need to overhaul misguided regulatory policies of which the Corps' approach is just one example.  With thousands of young people preparing to enter the workforce after graduating high school and college, now is the time to get the government off the backs of those who will invest in innovation, entrepreneurship, and job development to provide great opportunities in our communities.  ‎We must do more to ensure our policies are not standing in the way of real economic and job growth, and I will remain focused on these policies for the hardworking people of Virginia's Fifth District and across our country.


If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Staff Members from Robert Hurt's Office to Hold Local Office Hours in Lunenburg and Halifax Counties

Monday, June 6, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Staff members from Congressman Robert Hurt's (R-Virginia) office will hold Local Office Hours in Lunenburg and Halifax Counties on Friday, June 10 to meet with constituents who need assistance with federal agencies. For more information, please visit our Local Office Hours Interactive Map


Friday, June 10, 2016

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Lunenburg Office Hours

Lunenburg Administrator's Office, Conference Room

11413 Courthouse Road

Lunenburg, VA


1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Halifax Office Hours

Mary Bethune Office Complex, Public Meeting Room, 2nd Floor

1030 Mary Bethune Street

Halifax, VA


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Friday: Local Office Hours in Madison County

Local Office Hours in Madison County
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Staff Members from Robert Hurt's Office to Hold Local Office Hours in Madison County

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Staff members from Congressman Robert Hurt's (R-Virginia) office will hold Local Office Hours in Madison County on Friday, June 3 to meet with constituents who need assistance with federal agencies. For more information, please visit our Local Office Hours Interactive Map.

Friday, June 3, 2016
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Madison County Public Library
402 N. Main St.
Madison, VA

Washington, DC - 125 Cannon HOB * Washington, DC 20515 * Phone: (202) 225-4711
Charlottesville - 686 Berkmar Circle * Charlottesville, VA 22901 * Phone: (434) 973-9631
Danville - 308 Craghead St., Suite 102-D * Danville, VA 24541 * Phone: (434) 791-2596
Farmville - 515 S. Main Street, P.O. Box O * Farmville, VA 23901 * Phone: (434) 395-0120