House votes to nullify WOTUS rule

Mar 9, 2023
by Sierra Dawn McClain/Capital Press

The U.S. House on Thursday passed a resolution to invalidate the Biden administration’s “Waters of the United States” rule, or WOTUS, through the Congressional Review Act.

R.J. 27 passed by a vote of 227-198 and requires further action in the Senate.

The legislation was sponsored by House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., and by T&I Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer, R-N.C.

Agricultural groups have largely opposed the rule they contend would massively expand the federal government’s jurisdiction over waters not intended under the Clean Water Act and threaten land use.

American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and 16 other groups filed a lawsuit in January to prevent the rule from going into effect.

“We are pleased that the House agrees the proposed WOTUS rule is overreaching, difficult to understand and will make farming and ranching more difficult,” said Courtney Briggs, Farm Bureau senior director of government affairs.

“We thank House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves for his leadership on this issue, as well as the 170 co-sponsors of this resolution,” she said.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is thrilled to see a majority of House members reject the Biden administration’s burdensome rule, said Todd Wilkinson, NCBA president and a South Dakota cattle producer.

“Shifting WOTUS rules have plagued cattle producers for generations, and this latest rule only continues the decades of uncertainty, he said.

The Biden administration’s WOTUS rule creates more uncertainty for cattle producers by putting the burden on individual producers to determine if a water feature on their land is considered federally regulated, according to NCBA.

Additionally, NCBA has expressed strong opposition to the Environmental Protect Agency finalizing this rule in the middle of a Supreme Court case that addresses this very issue.

The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to invalidate an executive agency’s rule by passing a joint resolution through both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The resolution will now go to the Senate for consideration.

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