WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) released the following statement today after voting in favor of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval to rein in the Biden administration’s overreaching regulation of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS):
“The Biden administration is using the same playbook as the Obama administration — blatant land grabs and burdensome regulations,” said Senator Tuberville. “These policies hurt our farmers and landowners and do virtually nothing for our environment or our water resources. Our farmers and landowners need consistency, and for the federal government to get out of the way. Today I voted to block the President’s land grab attempt and stand up for Alabama farmers and producers.”
The CRA gives Congress the authority to review major rules issued by federal agencies before they take effect. If Congress disapproves of a rule via resolution, the rule will have no force or effect under the law.
Senator Tuberville is an original cosponsor of the resolution, which passed today by a vote of 53-43.
Senator Tuberville also introduced legislation today with U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) called the Farmer-Informed WOTUS Act, which would create an advisory committee of farmers and ranchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to advise the Secretary on matters relating to WOTUS and brief the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the committee’s findings.
At the end of 2022, President Biden’s EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued a “revised” WOTUS rule, which sets the bounds for what activities are regulated by the federal government under the Clean Water Act.
This year, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to issue a decision on the scope of federal jurisdictional over waters. Instead of waiting to see how the Court rules, the Biden administration has created further regulatory confusion by changing the definition once again. This is the third major change to the definition in less than eight years.
The revised WOTUS rule substantially expands federal jurisdiction over streams and wetlands, and encroaches on states’ authorities to regulate land and water within their borders. By changing this definition, President Biden is unnecessarily creating regulatory uncertainty as well as confusion and cost to infrastructure, transportation, and energy projects of all kinds. The added unpredictabilityfor states and regulated entities is in direct contrast to the EPA’s stated goal in releasing this rule.
The new rule adopts a subjective “significant nexus” test for determining when land or a water feature is subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. This complex test gives federal bureaucrats control over determining when temporary, tributary, and other upland waters are regulated. The rule makes farmers, developers, builders, and other landowners more reliant on the shifting interpretations of the EPA and Army Corps.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.