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Republican senators urge to keep WOTUS repealedRepublican senators urge to keep WOTUS repealed

Resolution expresses desire to see Navigable Waters Protection rule in place.

Jacqui Fatka

January 28, 2021

2 Min Read

Republican members of  Senate are urging support for a resolution that expresses the need for the U.S. Senate to stand with workers, farmers, manufacturers and businesses by upholding the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule, which replaced the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. 

In 2015, the Obama administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of the Waters of the United States. The Trump administration released a proposed rule to replace the Obama administration’s 2015 WOTUS rule with a new rule that provided what many saw as “much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers” by establishing clear and reasonable definitions of what qualifies as a “water of the United States.” The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule was finalized last year.

Now, on day one of his administration, Biden signed an executive order that would roll back the Trump Administration’s executive order which began the process of rescinding Obama’s WOTUS rule. The resolution expresses the sense of the Senate that the Navigable Waters Protection Rule should not be withdrawn or vacated, but it is not binding.

“As Kansas farmers, ranchers, businesses and even municipalities know all too well, WOTUS dramatically expanded the reach of the federal government with minimal improvements in water quality. The Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule served as a tremendous relief to Kansans and provided the regulatory certainty we need to grow,” says Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan. “Members of our state’s agriculture community spent the better part of the last decade trying to operate under the burdensome and uninformed regulations imposed by the Obama administration with WOTUS – we can’t allow the Biden Administration take us backward yet again.”

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the daughter of a farmer, adds, “When the Obama-Biden administration attempted to regulate nearly 97% of the land in Iowa with their WOTUS rule, I fought back and stood up for the livelihoods of hardworking Americans. We won that fight; a new, more flexible WOTUS rule was put in place. Now, the Biden Administration is working at a rapid pace to undo this work.”

Ernst adds, “Everyone should agree that clean water should be a national priority. But I can’t stand by and allow for another Washington power grab that will make it harder for Iowans to farm, ranch, and build. I’m urging my colleagues to join me in standing up for workers, farmers, manufacturers and businesses.”

Supporters of the resolution include Ernst and Marshall as well as Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Kevin Cramer R-N.D., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., James Risch, R-Idaho, John Barasso, R-Wyo., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., John Boozman, R-Ark., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Roger Wicker R-Miss., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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