President vetoes congressional rejection of overreaching WOTUS rule

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) responded January 19 to the President’s veto of S. J. Res 22, a measure that rejects an administration rule that gives the federal government sweeping authority to regulate virtually all waters or wet areas throughout the U.S.

This resolution of congressional disapproval, which recently passed both Houses of Congress with bipartisan support, vacates the administration’s rule, published June 29, to broaden the definition under federal law of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) and expand federal regulatory power under the Clean Water Act.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) responded January 19 to the President’s veto of S.J. Res 22, a measure that rejects an administration rule that gives the federal government sweeping authority to regulate virtually all waters or wet areas throughout the U.S.

This resolution of congressional disapproval, which recently passed both Houses of Congress with bipartisan support, vacates the administration’s rule, published June 29, to broaden the definition under federal law of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) and expand federal regulatory power under the Clean Water Act.

“This WOTUS rule is anti-jobs, anti-farmer, anti-business and anti-common sense,” Shuster said. “It was cooked up by the administration without legitimately taking into consideration the concerns of states, local governments, private citizens or anyone that it will actually impact. Congress clearly told the president what Pennsylvanians and the American people know: this WOTUS rule is nothing more than a costly federal power grab. It’s truly a shame that he has not listened.”

“This rule has been challenged by 32 states and the two courts that have looked at it so far have already determined it is likely illegal and have stopped the rule from going into effect while the litigation continues,” Inhofe said. “So, the view that WOTUS is an illegal and unprecedented power grab that would significantly impact our nation’s farmers, ranchers, landowners and local governments is widely held. Further, in December, the Government Accountability Office issued a legal decision finding that EPA’s efforts to solicit support for this rule constituted covert propaganda and lobbying, which is an illegal use of taxpayer dollars. In the president’s State of the Union speech, he said he wanted to cut red tape—how about starting with the WOTUS rule?”

The WOTUS rule significantly broadens the federal government’s power to regulate waters and adjacent lands throughout the country and undermines the long-standing, successful federal-state regulatory partnership envisioned by Congress under the Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers published the final WOTUS rule in June without properly consulting state and local authorities; without considering their rights, their responsibilities, their liabilities and their budgets; and without realistically examining the potential economic and legal impacts on private citizens, farmers and other stakeholders.

Maritime Editorial