Coalition of lawmakers sound the alarm over the Biden administration’s plan to redefine “United States waters” or WOTUS

Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO), member of the transport and infrastructure committee, joined the ranking member of the water resources and environment subcommittee David Rouzer (R-NC) and d ‘other senior Republican leaders to voice concerns about the Biden administration’s intention to rescind the Trump administration’s navigable waters protection rule. The recent announcement by the Biden administration signaled its intention to revise the definition of “United States Waters” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act and potentially revert to Obama-era regulations that affected US waters. farmers, businesses, states, local governments and families. Across the country.

Members of Congress sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Acting Deputy Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jaime Pinkham. Join Rep. Graves and Rep. Rouzer on the letter were Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Republican House Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), Republican House Conference Speaker Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the Energy and Trade Committee Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Ranking Member of the Agriculture Committee Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Small Business Committee Ranking Member Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), in addition to a number of other Republican members. A total of 126 members of Congress signed the letter.

Members wrote: “With all the other crises facing our country, it does not make sense to unravel a final rule that has taken decades of action, litigation and legislation for the Agency. Instead, we encourage the Administration to focus its attention and resources on the most pressing economic and international issues facing our country, such as inflation, the border crisis, the security of our communities, the reopening. schools and protecting America from our adversaries who seek to harm us.

However, if the Biden administration chooses to continue with its plans to redefine WOTUS, members cautioned, “We are concerned that the approach agencies intend to take to revise this important regulation is regressing from clarity provided by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, and will re-impose a very broad interpretation of federal jurisdiction over the waters around the nation. “

They urged agencies not to ignore the contribution of the general public, small businesses, federal and state agencies and the rest of the regulated community to create another rule with less regulatory certainty, as happened under the Obama administration.

Members wrote: “The Obama administration’s excessive WOTUS rule has had a disastrous effect on farmers, businesses and families. This rule has generated substantial opposition from states, local governments and citizens across the country, challenging the overbreadth of the definitions included. The regulatory burden on average Americans and the effect on the economy would be detrimental if agencies removed definitions included in the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, especially as we seek to restart the economy after the COVID pandemic -19. If we are to help get Americans back to work, the Administration cannot continue to offer partisan executive and legislative actions that will only slow or reverse the economic recovery. Instead, we need to have reasonable regulations to allow Americans to prosper and grow our nation’s economy, including in rural and other underserved areas of the country. To do this, agencies must keep in mind the multitude of concerns and issues previously raised about the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule and maintain updated definitions of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

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