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Chairman Graves introduces legislation to reverse Biden WOTUS rule


February 2, 2023 - Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) led 152 of his House colleagues today in introducing a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on the Biden Administration’s flawed and burdensome “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. This rule will lead to sweeping changes to the federal government’s authority to regulate what is considered a navigable water, with enormous impacts on small businesses, manufacturers, farmers, home and infrastructure builders, local communities, water districts, and private property owners.

“As American families and businesses continue suffering under the economic crises caused by the disastrous Biden policies of the last two years, this Administration has inexplicably decided to move the country back toward the costly and burdensome WOTUS regulations of the past,” said Graves. “In an unnecessary drain on federal resources, the Administration clumsily put forward its rule before the Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the Sackett case, which will affect and alter what the Administration has put forward. Congress has the authority and responsibility to review onerous rules like this one handed down from the Executive Branch, and I hope our colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join in this effort to preserve regulatory clarity and prevent overzealous, unnecessary, and broadly defined federal power.”

The House Joint Resolution introduced today, if enacted, would terminate the Biden WOTUS rulemaking utilizing the CRA, which provides a mechanism for Congress to overturn certain final agency actions. An identical Senate Joint Resolution, led by Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), was also introduced in the Senate today.

On January 18, 2023, the Environmental Protection Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published the Administration’s long-expected WOTUS rule, which:

  • Voids the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule, a rule that had provided much-needed clarity and certainty for the regulated community throughout the Nation;

  • Reverts back to the Obama Administration’s era of greater uncertainty and expansive federal jurisdiction to regulate navigable waters under the Clean Water Act, including wetlands, ephemeral streams, and ditches;

  • Moves the federal government towards a regulatory regime under which agency bureaucrats decide what is regulated, rather than working with those who will be affected, at a time when the Supreme Court has yet to issue an opinion on a pending WOTUS case (Sackett) that will directly impact the rule.

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