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Reverting Back to Obama-era WOTUS Rule Hurts Rural America

Navigable Waters Protection Rule supports rural communities dedicated to clean water

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) released the following statements after the Biden Administration announced its intent to revise the definition of "waters of the United States" and rescind the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR):

“Just as predicted, the Biden Administration announced its intent to dismantle the Navigable Waters Protection Rule – a move that threatens the livelihoods of many in rural America," said Chairman Newhouse. "Further, the Administration points to the arid West in its examples of areas where the federal government no longer has jurisdiction over local waters, yet they run to the urban northeast to seek court action. The Obama-era WOTUS rule they are seemingly trying to reinstate created uncertainty for farmers, ranchers, businesses, and landowners throughout rural communities, and they now face the same unpredictable future. I am proud to support Rep. Miller-Meeks’ legislation to uphold the NWPR because rural communities throughout the United States are dedicated to clean water, and they don’t deserve to be punished by burdensome federal regulations.”

“I am incredibly disappointed with the EPA’s plans to roll back the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. I have spoken with Iowans dozens of times about the issues created by the 2015 Waters of the United States Rules,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks. “WOTUS hurt American farmers, ranchers, landowners, and businesses, caused confusion, and hindered economic development. I proudly introduced a resolution to uphold the NWPR with Chairman Newhouse because this Rule is much more supportive of rural America and our economy.”

Background: 

The 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule significantly expanded the definition of "waters of the United States" and gave the federal government authority to regulate almost any waters; including streams, ditches, ponds, and creeks. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), finalized by the Trump Administration in April 2020, revised the definition of WOTUS and reversed this overreach, bringing back a balance between federal and state jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

On April 14, 2021, Rep. Miller-Meeks introduced legislation to uphold the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), expressing the sense of the House that clean water is a national priority and that the NWPR should not be withdrawn or vacated. The resolution was introduced with the support of 114 Members of Congress, including 57 Members of the Congressional Western Caucus.

Reps. Newhouse and Miller-Meeks penned this op-ed for the Des Moines Register highlighting the legislation and the West's dedication to clean water.

Rep. Newhouse and Senator Steve Daines penned an op-ed for Fox Newsabout the egregious overreach of the Obama-era WOTUS rule and the need to maintain the certainty and predictability of the NWPR. 

SOURCE: Congressional Western Caucus

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