Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives, with the support of Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), today passed a resolution (H.J. Res. 27) to block President Biden and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s overreaching and unclear Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
“President Biden’s efforts to expand the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule – one of the most burdensome EPA rules in recent memory – would have devastating consequences for rural communities,” said Rodgers. “In today’s struggling economy, the agriculture community in Eastern Washington and across the nation can’t afford any more uncertainty. They need relief, and I was proud to join my colleagues in passing this resolution to provide it.”
On January 18, 2023, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published the administration’s long-expected WOTUS rule. The resolution passed by the House of Representatives, if enacted, would terminate the president’s WOTUS rule utilizing the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which provides a mechanism for Congress to overturn certain final agency actions.
The Clean Water Act (CWA) provides authority for the EPA and the Corps to define “waters of the United States.” If a water falls under the definition of WOTUS, then any user — whether it be the Federal Government, State or local government, or a private property owner — must abide by several provisions in CWA, which can include costly environmental compliance.
The 2015 Waters of the United States Rule significantly expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” and gave the federal government authority to regulate almost all bodies of water; including streams, ditches, ponds, and creeks.
The Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), finalized by the Trump administration in April 2020, revised the definition of WOTUS and reversed this overreach, bringing back a balance between federal and state jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Confusion, regulatory uncertainty, and litigation have surrounded the scope of federal authority of our nation’s navigable waterways for decades.
The Biden administration’s recent efforts to reverse the NWPR jeopardizes the best interests of rural America by expanding the federal government’s regulatory power and placing the burden on small businesses, farmers, local communities, manufacturers, and private property owners.
Click here to read the resolution.