The full House passed a joint resolution to disapprove of the Environmental Protection Agency’s "waters of the U.S." (WOTUS) rule under the Congressional Review Act. With approval from Congress, the legislation now heads to the President, who is expected to veto the resolution.
This resolution would nullify the rule submitted by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redefine “waters of the U.S.” under the Clean Water Act.
The vote is yet another way for Congress to show its disapproval for the agency’s rule that has come under fire from many, especially within the agriculture industry.
In November, the Senate voted in 53-44 in bipartisan support of S.J. Res. 22. Since that time, the Government Accountability Office has released its legal opinion finding that EPA violated federal law by engaging in covert propaganda and grassroots lobbying in support of the WOTUS rule.
“The WOTUS rule is one of the most onerous land grabs undertaken by any regulator,” National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. president Philip Ellis said. “The WOTUS rule extends beyond congressional intent and would affect not only ranchers but every land use stakeholder nationwide. This rule is not about preserving our nation’s resources; it’s about an overzealous regulatory administration.”
In May 2015, the House passed H.R. 1732, the bipartisan Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, which would send EPA and the Corps back to the drawing board on the WOTUS rule. The Senate was unable to pass a similar version, falling just a few votes shy, but was able to muster enough support to pass the resolution.
House Agriculture Committee chairman Michael Conaway (R., Texas) said the passage is a “critical step toward stopping what some believe to be the largest federal land grab in history. From the beginning, the process of developing this rule was flawed by EPA ignoring input from stakeholders and even other agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers. America’s farmers and ranchers deserve to have a government that will review and consider their thoughts.”