President Barack Obama vetoed Senate Joint Resolution 22, disapproval of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, which would nullify the rule and require EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to clarify the jurisdictional boundaries of the Clean Water Act.
In his veto message, Obama said, “The rule, which is a product of extensive public involvement and years of work, is critical to our efforts to protect the nation's waters and keep them clean, is responsive to calls for rule-making from the Congress, industry and community stakeholders and is consistent with decisions of the United States Supreme Court.”
Obama noted, “Because this resolution seeks to block the progress represented by this rule and deny businesses and communities the regulatory certainty and clarity needed to invest in projects that rely on clean water, I cannot support it. I am, therefore, vetoing this resolution.”
The Senate voted 53-44 on Nov. 4, 2015, and the House voted 253-166 on Jan. 6, 2016, in support of the resolution.
Philip Ellis, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn. (NCBA), said, “In siding with the EPA, the President has ignored the will of Congress, including members of his own party. Moreover, he has taken sides against the 32 states and countless stakeholders who have challenged the WOTUS rule. With Congress clearly showing their disapproval of this rule, the consequences of WOTUS implementation now rest solely with President Obama.”
NCBA and the Public Lands Council filed a lawsuit in the Southern District Court in Texas on July 2, 2015. That litigation will continue. While the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals considers jurisdiction, a temporary nationwide stay on implementation of the WOTUS rule remains in effect.
National Corn Growers Assn. president Chip Bowling expressed disappointment in the veto, especially in light of the recent Government Accountability Office report stating that EPA engaged in “covert propaganda” in an effort to sell the American public on the water rule.
“This resolution would have given us the opportunity to work together on a better rule we can all support. Instead, the future of WOTUS remains in the hands of the courts — which may takes months, if not years, and comes at a considerable cost,” Bowling said.