Senate Votes to Repeal Biden Regulation of US Waters, Wetlands

Jackson Richman
By Jackson Richman
March 29, 2023Congressshare
Senate Votes to Repeal Biden Regulation of US Waters, Wetlands
Cherry blossoms bloom on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 27, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Senate passed a resolution on March 29, 53–43, to repeal a Biden administration regulation of U.S. waters and wetlands.

The disapproval resolution passed the House on March 9, 227–198. It was passed in accordance with the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to strike down regulations within 60 days of passage. However, President Joe Biden is expected to veto the resolution. It is unlikely Republicans would get the needed two-thirds majority to override a veto.

In June 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army announced that they would revise what qualifies as “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The regulation was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18 and took effect on March 20.

“When Congress passed the Clean Water Act 50 years ago, it recognized that protecting our waters is essential to ensuring healthy communities and a thriving economy,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a Dec. 30, 2022, statement. “Following extensive stakeholder engagement, and building on what we’ve learned from previous rules, EPA is working to deliver a durable definition of WOTUS that safeguards our nation’s waters, strengthens economic opportunity, and protects people’s health while providing greater certainty for farmers, ranchers, and landowners.”

In the same statement, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor said: “This final rule recognizes the essential role of the nation’s water resources in communities across the nation. The rule’s clear and supportable definition of waters of the United States will allow for more efficient and effective implementation and provide the clarity long desired by farmers, industry, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders.”

However, in a statement, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said WOTUS is burdensome and hurts private landowners.

“[WOTUS is] going to be costly, it’s going to be disruptive, and it’s going to put an onus of federal regulation where it has never been before: onto a lot of our private landowners.

“So I’m expecting that this will pass the United States Senate with bipartisan support. It’s already passed the House. It will go to the president’s desk and we’re going to challenge the President, again to say, ‘Mr. President, are you going to listen to the heartland of America where your overreach and your regulatory environment on the waters is going to penalize so many people?'”

Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) told The Nevada Appeal that WOTUS hurts her state.

“Nevada’s unique water needs are unlike any other state, and this administration’s rule forces our local governments, farmers, ranchers and businesses to jump through unnecessary red tape,” she said.

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) applauded the Senate passage.

“The Administration’s new rule is a nuclear warhead aimed squarely at our farm families, small businesses, homebuilders, every property owner, and entire communities because of its overreaching definition. It will only create additional confusion and uncertainty—further harming our already struggling economy,” he said.

From The Epoch Times

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