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Republican senators urge to keep WOTUS repealed

TAGS: Policy
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Resolution expresses desire to see Navigable Waters Protection rule in place.

Republican members of  Senate are urging support for a resolution that expresses the need for the U.S. Senate to stand with workers, farmers, manufacturers and businesses by upholding the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule, which replaced the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. 

In 2015, the Obama administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of the Waters of the United States. The Trump administration released a proposed rule to replace the Obama administration’s 2015 WOTUS rule with a new rule that provided what many saw as “much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers” by establishing clear and reasonable definitions of what qualifies as a “water of the United States.” The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule was finalized last year.

Now, on day one of his administration, Biden signed an executive order that would roll back the Trump Administration’s executive order which began the process of rescinding Obama’s WOTUS rule. The resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that the Navigable Waters Protection Rule should not be withdrawn or vacated, but it is not binding.

“As Kansas farmers, ranchers, businesses and even municipalities know all too well, WOTUS dramatically expanded the reach of the federal government with minimal improvements in water quality. The Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule served as a tremendous relief to Kansans and provided the regulatory certainty we need to grow,” says Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan. “Members of our state’s agriculture community spent the better part of the last decade trying to operate under the burdensome and uninformed regulations imposed by the Obama administration with WOTUS – we can’t allow the Biden Administration take us backward yet again.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the daughter of a farmer, adds, “When the Obama-Biden administration attempted to regulate nearly 97% of the land in Iowa with their WOTUS rule, I fought back and stood up for the livelihoods of hardworking Americans. We won that fight; a new, more flexible WOTUS rule was put in place. Now, the Biden Administration is working at a rapid pace to undo this work.”

Ernst adds, “Everyone should agree that clean water should be a national priority. But I can’t stand by and allow for another Washington power grab that will make it harder for Iowans to farm, ranch, and build. I’m urging my colleagues to join me in standing up for workers, farmers, manufacturers and businesses.”

Supporters of the resolution include Ernst and Marshall as well as Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Kevin Cramer R-N.D., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., James Risch, R-Idaho, John Barasso, R-Wyo., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., John Boozman, R-Ark., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Roger Wicker R-Miss., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

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