News Releases from Headquarters›Water (OW)
More Widespread Support for EPA and Army's Navigable Waters Protection Rule – A New Definition of WOTUS
WASHINGTON (Jan. 24, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James unveiled a new, clear definition for “waters of the United States.” With the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, EPA and the Department of the Army (Army) are delivering on President Trump’s promise to finalize a revised definition for “waters of the United States” that protects the nation’s navigable waters from pollution and will result in economic growth across the country. Here's what elected officials and stakeholders are saying...
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue: “President Trump is restoring the rule of law and empowering Americans by removing undue burdens and strangling regulations from the backs of our productive farmers, ranchers, and rural land-owners. The days are gone when the Federal Government can claim a small farm pond on private land as navigable waters. I thank President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for having the backs of our farmers, ranchers, and producers and for continuing to roll back Federal overreach. With reforms and deregulation, Americans once again have the freedom to innovate, create, and grow.”
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY): “I applaud President Donald Trump, Administrator Wheeler, and Assistant Secretary James for standing up for middle class families in Kentucky. Replacing the Obama EPA’s WOTUS rule with one that protects our waters while also being more workable is a win for farmers and small businesses.”
U.S. Senator John Barrasso, Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (WY): "President Trump is delivering on his promise to give Americans clean water and clear rules. Regulations must follow the law and be easy for Americans to understand. The Trump administration respects the authority Congress gave EPA under the Clean Water Act. The old WOTUS rule put Washington in control of ponds, puddles, and prairie potholes. The punishing regulation was so confusing that property owners and businesses could not determine when permits were needed. Even worse, it inserted Washington into local decision making. This overreach put unfair restrictions on how farmers, ranchers, and landowners could use their property. I will continue to work closely with the Trump administration as it seeks commonsense ways to keep America’s water clean and safe."
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (KS): “The original ‘WOTUS’ rule was nothing but a severe regulatory over reach. The growing threat farmers were facing from the previous administration’s regulatory warpath would have only added costs to their businesses and stymied their ability to compete. I’m thankful this administration’s rule is a much more reasonable approach to regulation.”
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairwoman, Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations (AK): “I have worked for years to try to prevent federal agencies from massively expanding the definition of the ‘Waters of the United States,’ and I appreciate this administration’s efforts to return to a more reasonable regulation that does not block private construction or harm economic growth. Many states, including my home state of Alaska, already have robust standards that work in tandem with federal requirements to protect water quality. While I am reviewing the details of this final rule, I welcome it and expect it to be a significant improvement over the 2015 Obama-era rule.”
U.S. Senator James Inhofe (OK): “The EPA’s release of this finalized WOTUS replacement rule is welcome news. Today, we can finally put the Obama-era WOTUS rule behind us and put the power back where it belongs, in the hands of the states. Rural states, like Oklahoma, have been severely harmed by the regulatory overreach of the Obama-era WOTUS rule. The agricultural community in Oklahoma was one of the hardest hit—which is why it was one of their top legislative priorities for so long. I’m proud that the threat of the federal government’s land grab is now officially dead.
“Today’s action is yet more proof that the Trump Administration keeps promises, and America is winning because of it. I am proud to have worked with President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler to repeal the old rule and I look forward to continue our work of cutting red tape and harmful regulations.”
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (KY): “For years I’ve fought to stop government overreach of regulating every puddle and ditch in America, and just like my Defense of Environment and Property Act, this rule implements reforms to get the government off the backs of our farmers and everyone else who owns land.”
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (IA): “President Trump deserves credit for following through on his promise to repeal this Obama-era rule that would have defined 97 percent of Iowa as a waterway. Giving the federal government the power to regulate nearly all of Iowa would have been an economic catastrophe. My neighbors who farm in Butler County shouldn’t have to get permission from bureaucrats in Washington to move soil on their own land. This was just another example of out-of-touch and ill-conceived government overreach. This new rule will help keep our water and land clean without destroying Iowa’s small businesses and family farming operations.”
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (IA): “For years, Iowans have told me what an egregious overreach Obama’s WOTUS rule was, giving the federal government authority to regulate 97 percent of the land in Iowa. That’s absurd, and it’s why I’ve worked hard to get rid of it. After working relentlessly alongside the Trump Administration, I’m proud that we’ve successfully scrapped this Obama-era rule and are now providing the predictability and certainty our hardworking farmers, manufacturers, and landowners in Iowa deserve. Under President Trump’s leadership, we’ve fought to get the government off the backs of farmers and business owners and have had major wins on trade – like the USMCA, the phase one China deal, and the Japan agreement – all of which are spurring a sense of optimism and economic growth across rural America.”
U.S. Senator Jim Risch (ID): “After years of overreach and uncertainty, Idaho’s farmers, ranchers, and landowners will finally have a rule that doesn’t confuse truly navigable waters with ditches and puddles. I applaud President Trump’s work to roll back this egregious overstep by the Obama administration and empower states to manage and protect their natural resources.”
U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (ID): “Today’s announcement by the EPA will rebalance the relationship between the federal government and state and local on-the-ground experts for effective and environmentally-sound water quality management policies. President Trump’s Administration has taken decisive action on limiting federal overreach, and has brought regulatory certainty to Idaho farmers, ranchers and businesses who have been impacted by the old WOTUS definition.”
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (MO): “I’m glad the Trump administration has listened to rural America and taken the necessary steps to undo and replace the misguided Waters of the U.S. rule. The Obama-era WOTUS rule would have given the EPA jurisdiction over 99% of Missouri. I, over and over again, took the Farm Bureau map to the [Senate] floor, that was all in one color. And that was the color where the federal government would have jurisdiction over everything from puddles to ditches to ponds, from sidewalks to building permits.
“I’ve heard from countless farmers, ranchers, small businesses owners, and elected officials who just simply said WOTUS would have not only driven up the costs but made it impossible for them to do their jobs. Getting rid of this rule is an important part of the broader effort we’ve been working on in the Senate to roll back regulations that would cost a lot, but have little or no positive impact.
“This is an important victory for Missouri. I’m going to continue to work with the administration to make sure our economy has room to grow without the burden of costly, unnecessary red tape. When we need to have a rule, we need to have a rule that makes sense. But it has to make sense first and foremost.”
U.S. Senator John Hoeven (ND): "The Obama-era WOTUS rule was duplicative of state and local efforts, violated private property rights and would’ve imposed significant costs on a wide range of industries, like agriculture, energy production and construction. That’s why we worked to prevent the 2015 rule’s implementation and supported the administration’s efforts to repeal it. We appreciate their continued efforts to provide certainty under the new NWPR rule, which seeks to cover only traditional navigable waters and encourage collaboration with states, tribes and localities, rather than override their authority. We will continue working to ensure the new rule achieves these important goals."
U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (ND): "Today’s announcement is excellent news. President Trump’s Administration values sound water policy and, more importantly, staying within the confines of the law. The 2015 Rule was egregious, and it’s good to see it being replaced with a new rule that is legal and will work for our farmers, businesses, and local governments. I’m grateful for the role North Dakotans played in leading on this issue, and I look forward to ensuring this rule is properly implemented."
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (NE): “I applaud the Trump administration for taking this next step which includes a much narrower definition of “Waters of the United States” than the 2015 rule. This helps to put Nebraskans back in charge of our state’s own precious water resources. It will also address the higher costs and federal overreach that the Obama-era regulations would have put on Nebraskans.”
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (KS): "The EPA’s new definition for the WOTUS rule helps clarify jurisdiction over waterways and reduces unnecessary regulations from the overreaching Obama-era rule. This allows Kansas farmers, ranchers & other landowners to better utilize water resources available to them."
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV): “Certainty and predictable regulation are critical to a dynamic American economy. The previous WOTUS rule promulgated by the Obama Administration would have made it difficult for most Americans to determine if a federally protected body of water is located on their property and severely harmed the coal, natural gas, construction, and agriculture industries in West Virginia. The replacement Navigable Waters Protection Rule is emblematic of President Trump’s insistence on commonsense regulation that does not inhibit economic growth, and is predicated on a clear reading of the Clean Water Act that protects the environment and preserves the important role of states in protecting their water resources.”
U.S. Senator Steve Daines (MT): "This is about common sense policies that protect our environment and support responsible development. We can protect Montana’s water, support agriculture, and protect our property rights without overbearing regulations and mandates from DC bureaucrats. I applaud President Trump and his administration for rewriting the burdensome Obama-era WOTUS rule to ensure that Montanans are allowed to manage the land they know best."
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (MS): “By providing clearer definitions for federally-protected waters, President Trump is keeping his promises to American farmers, ranchers, and small business owners. This rule from the EPA recognizes state control over local waters, while still maintaining important protections for our environment. I will continue working with the Administration to ensure our federal regulatory system is not overly burdensome for Mississippians.”
U.S. Senator David Perdue (GA): “This is a huge win for farmers, businesses, ranchers, and landowners in Georgia and across the country. President Trump knows the last thing farmers need is more bureaucracy and invasion of their privacy rights. EPA’s new rule will get Washington out of the way and end years of uncertainty by simply defining where water regulations apply and where they do not.”
U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (SD): “The administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule gives farmers, ranchers and landowners the clarity they need to know when the Clean Water Act applies to them and when it does not,” said Rounds. “The previous administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule, which this rule replaces, was a power grab by the federal government. I’m pleased the EPA is working to protect the rights of landowners rather than infringe upon those rights. It also respects states’ rights, recognizing that state and tribal governments have a right to regulate and manage their land and water resources themselves.”
U.S Senator Dan Sullivan (AK): “I join hard-working Alaskans and land owners across the country in welcoming the Trump administration’s final, clear WOTUS Rule, which stands in stark contrast to the burdensome and overreaching definition offered by the previous administration,” said Senator Sullivan. “Under the previous rule, land owners faced the potential for thousands of dollars in litigation and months of bureaucratic back-and-forth just to fill a ditch on their own property, or build a structure. Thanks to EPA Administrator Wheeler and the administration, that uncertainty has now been replaced with a reasonable and statutory interpretation of the Clean Water Act that will protect our cherished waterways without devastating Alaska’s economy.”
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (TX): “The EPA’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule is a victory for Texas farmers, ranchers, and private landowners across America,” Sen. Cruz said. “I applaud President Trump and his administration for fulfilling his promises to the American people to rein in federal overreach and to eliminate burdensome government regulations. Under the Obama administration, the federal government was allowed to regulate almost any body of water, including those on private property. The new rule announced today clarifies what the federal government can and more importantly cannot do and restores liberty to the American people.”
U.S. Senator Martha McSally (AZ): "The existing WOTUS Rule overreached to give the federal government the authority to regulate every ditch, stream, and creek in the backyards of farmers, ranchers, builders, and small business owners,” said McSally. “As a result, bureaucratic red tape suffocated our country's engines of jobs. Since my first day in Congress, I’ve been fighting to roll back this burdensome rule and I applaud the Trump Administration for allowing commonsense to prevail by returning the onus of water and land rights where it belongs: the states.”
U.S. Senator Mike Braun (IN): "President Trump delivered on his promise to Hoosiers that his EPA would redefine WOTUS to provide certainty to farmers & landowners. As a former turkey farmer, I know that President Trump, Administrator Wheeler, and Secretary Perdue have our farmers and ranchers' backs."
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS): “The new rule restores the rightful balance of federal and state jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. This will mean protecting our waters without subjecting agriculture, business, industry, and rural communities to gross and overreaching federal regulation. For Mississippi’s interests, this is a priority. I’m grateful to President Trump and his administration for correcting the flagrant power grab by the previous administration.”
U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler (GA): “I may be new to the U.S. Senate, but I’ve long known the negative consequences of over-regulation as a solution. The Obama-era ‘WOTUS’ rule hurt Georgian farmers and led to unnecessary and, at times, illegal federal overreach. President Trump’s Navigable Waters" Protection Rule will provide farmers in Georgia and nationwide with much needed clarity, predictability and freedom to harvest their crops while also protecting the environment.”
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (NE): “Nebraska farmers and ranchers are winning with the finalization of new water rules. Bureaucrats have no place regulating puddles in Nebraska, and the Obama administration was wrong for trying this nonsense. No one cares more about land and water resources than our farmers and ranchers. Nebraskans feed the world and are on the leading edge of conservation. I am glad to hear that the new water rules are finalized.”
Governor Pete Ricketts (NE): “Thank you to President Trump and his team for successfully rolling back President Obama’s expansive Waters of the U.S. rule. This new rule builds on the great work the Trump Administration has been doing to cut red tape. The rule respects states’ rights, and protects our farmers and ranchers from federal government overreach.”
Governor Greg Abbott (TX): “I am pleased that President Trump's administration has replaced the unlawful Obama era WOTUS rule that I have been fighting since my time as Attorney General. Like so many job-killing regulations from that era, the 2015 WOTUS rule thumbed its nose at constitutional and statutory limits that constrain the federal government. With today’s action, President Trump and his administration are honoring those limits and declaring a victory for the rule of law on behalf of landowners across the country. I applaud their actions to protect private property rights by ending this unlawful federal power grab.”
Governor Kim Reynolds (IA): “Iowa farmers, families, and property owners will benefit substantially from the redefined ‘Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) rule. This new rule provides clarity, predictability, and consistency while also balancing environmental protections with the rights and interests of states like ours.
“Under the Obama administration, Iowa suffered from uncertainty, excessive regulation and federal overreach. Those days are gone.
“I appreciate President Trump and his administration for fulfilling another promise made by taking the necessary steps to rewrite WOTUS.”
Governor Kevin Stitt (OK): "I am very pleased President Trump continues to fulfill his promises to the American people. The new definition for “Waters of the United States” will provide the much needed regulatory certainty and predictability necessary for protecting waters and keeping our economy growing strong. The new rule restores the proper balance between the federal government and the states as originally envisioned by Congress. We greatly welcome this rule as it will will have many positive impacts for the Great State of Oklahoma."
Governor Doug Burgum (ND): “In stark contrast to the confusing 2015 WOTUS rule, this new definition provides clarity and common sense for landowners and state agencies on what constitutes jurisdictional waters. We believe this rule can work in concert with our state regulations, which already protect both our surface waters and groundwater. We appreciate the Trump administration’s considerable efforts to consult with governors and other stakeholders on this rule, recognizing our ability as states to manage our own waters effectively, because no one cares more deeply about clean water than the people who live here.”
House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (WY-AL): "The Obama Administration's attempt to redefine navigable waters was a blatant, unconstitutional power grab aimed at taking federal control over state water laws and private water rights. Thankfully, President Trump and House Republicans made it a top priority to put a stop to this clear abuse of power that threatened precious resources for hardworking ranchers and farmers in Wyoming, and would have devastated our rural economy. I'm pleased to see EPA Administrator Wheeler take the next step to protect our nation's water resources by clearly defining what is and what is not considered 'navigable water.' This new rule, which included input from a wide range of stakeholders, will provide regulatory certainty that respects the water rights of the people of Wyoming."
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (MO-06): “I commend President Trump for keeping his promise to farmers, small business owners, and communities across the country by replacing the overreaching Obama WOTUS rule. The new rule offers greater certainty and promotes the important partnership between states and the federal government in ensuring we have a healthy environment. I look forward to working with the Administration to see this important rule implemented as intended.”
House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-04): “I’m pleased to see the administration carrying out its promise to scale back overbearing regulations and implement rules that will help rural American communities, not hurt them. I’ve heard from farmers and small business owners across Arkansas who repeatedly run into issues obtaining permits, managing their land, or navigating convoluted procedures. This WOTUS overhaul will restore commonsense regulation, allowing us to steward our nation’s resources without infringing on private citizens’ rights.”
House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Greg Walden (OR-02): "For years, farmers and ranchers across Oregon have expressed their concerns to me about the heavy-handed Obama-era definition of WOTUS. They stressed that their intermittent stream or irrigation ditch would be subject to the burden of overreaching federal regulation. The EPA’s new definition of WOTUS will both protect our environment and our rural communities. Today’s announcement is welcome news for rural Oregon. I applaud President Trump and his administration for listening to the concerns of America’s farmers and ranchers and delivering on the promise to revise WOTUS."
House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas (OK-03): "Today’s announcement by the Trump Administration is welcomed news for our nation’s landowners. While continuing to protect millions of miles of our nation’s waterways from pollution and deterioration, the new rule will provide clarity to the EPA’s regulatory framework and will dramatically reduce overburdensome regulation currently felt by farmers, ranchers, and small business owners. WOTUS, under the Obama Administration, expanded the role of the federal government under the Clean Water Act from navigable and interstate waters to incorporate ditches, ponds, and streams- regardless of how unnavigable or temporary the water may be. At a time when the federal government should have been cutting burdensome red tape, the Obama Administration instead tied the hands of our nation’s farmers and landowners and subjected them to unprecedented federal overreach and divisive litigation. Farmers, ranchers, and landowners of Oklahoma have long been good stewards of their land and the environment. The Trump Administration’s efforts reeling in the scope of the EPA’s regulatory activity back to the original intention of the Clean Water Act not only provides certainty for those who rely on the land to support their families but it also applies a common sense understanding of what constitutes waters of the United States. I commend President Trump and his Administration for keeping their promise to eliminate the previous administration’s rule and for providing a more realistic and certain framework ensuring we have a healthy environment and robust economy."
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Mike Conaway (TX-11): “This rule provides clarity and consistency for landowners affected by the scope of WOTUS jurisdiction. Our nation’s navigable waters will remain well-protected, while farmers and ranchers will no longer be subjected to ambiguous guidelines and regulatory uncertainty. I applaud the Trump Administration’s dedication to getting this rule right, and look forward to finally ending decades of federal overreach on WOTUS.”
Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): "Under the previous administration, the WOTUS Rule was one of the most egregious examples of federal overreach I’ve seen in my lifetime. The rule gave unprecedented power to bureaucrats in D.C. at the expense of farmers, ranchers, small business owners and all Americans. Thankfully, President Trump has kept another promise by fully repealing this rule and replacing it with a significantly better proposal. Today’s announcement will provide regulatory certainty, eliminate federal overreach and balance federal protection of our Nation’s waters while empowering state autonomy over their resources. I want to thank President Donald Trump and Administrator Andrew Wheeler for taking decisive action that will better the lives of millions of Americans across the Country."
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03): "The uncertain interpretation of the term ‘navigable waters’ created by WOTUS has left farmers, ranchers and private land owners unprotected from federal land and water grabs. Over the last three years, President Trump’s administration has worked to repeal unnecessary and burdensome regulations with updated versions that better suit the needs of our agricultural communities. I welcome this latest clarification of the term that will restore long-standing states’ water rights and greater certainty for the Coloradans whose livelihoods depend on availability of water."
Congressman Don Young (AK-At Large): "While the Clean Water Act is important piece of environmental protection legislation, President Obama’s WOTUS rule was just one more example of the egregious federal overreach that defined his heavy-handed administration. Expanding the definition of “navigable waterway” to include tiny streams and ponds only served to ensure that every day Americans – Alaskans among them -- would run afoul of the rule. President Trump has been a great partner in the fight to reign in the previous administration’s outrageous expansion of federal power, and I would like to thank him and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for their continued commitment to cutting red tape and reducing government bureaucracy."
Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01): "The Obama Administration’s ill-advised attempt to expand the WOTUS definition left a major burden on private landowners and farmers. I commend President Trump for empowering state and local governments to protect water resources by establishing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. This is a common-sense change that gives landowners the flexibility to maintain their own land without overreaching federal input."
Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-05): "I applaud President Trump and his administration for delivering on another promise to the American people. Our nation depends on the hard work of farmers and ranchers who shouldn’t have to deal with unnecessary bureaucratic nonsense that encompassed the Obama-era WOTUS rule definition. This new WOTUS rule will ensure that our communities abide by sound environmental policies and will keep Washington’s heavy hand away of our precious western lands."
Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04): "This new definition for Waters of the United States will provide much-needed relief and clarity for farmers, ranchers, and landowners across the country. President Trump and his Administration are keeping promises to Americans who have been negatively impacted by overregulation while strengthening protections for our nation’s navigable waters."
Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03): "President Trump is delivering on yet another promise of eliminating egregious and overreaching regulations. The Obama-era 'Waters of the U.S.' rule expanded federal power by regulating every stream, creek, and drainage ditch – labeling them 'navigable waterways.' The rule was nothing more than an unconstitutional power grab to deepen the federal government’s foothold in our daily lives. President Trump’s new rule restores sanity, eliminates overreach, and achieves the proper balance to protect water resources, and I applaud him for his work on this issue!"
Congressman Ralph Norman (SC-05): "We are a nation of laws, not of lawyers, and without clearly communicated and fairly enforced rules, we cannot expect our system of free enterprise to succeed. This rules change is nothing short of a liberation of our nation’s farmers oppressed by the punishing and opaque regulatory regime of the EPA. This change shows that we can still respect the Clean Water Act and protect our nation’s natural resources while at the same time allowing our nation’s workers and businesses to do what they do best."
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-03): “This announcement marks an important step in restoring state authority and stopping improper federal overreach. Localities are best equipped to manage the water and land within its borders – and this new directive rightfully reverses a power grab by Washington bureaucrats under the previous administration. With today’s prudent rule, we are protecting America’s waterways and providing certainty to hardworking farmers, ranchers, and landowners. I have fought against the misguided Obama-era version of this regulation since it was introduced and thank the Trump Administration for taking decisive action and implementing a balanced approach.”
Congressman Chris Stewart (UT-02): "It’s not every day the federal government cedes authority back to the states. I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to rescind the Obama administration’s power grab over water. This is good for everyone, but it is especially good for Western states."
Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22): "The Navigable Waters Protection Rule marks a return to reasonable federal policy that balances environmental preservation with states’ rights and property rights. Years of government overreach under the Obama Administration’s WOTUS regulations did little more than line the pockets of trial lawyers while creating unnecessary uncertainty for property owners. Thanks to President Trump and Secretary Wheeler for hearing the concerns of the farmers and ranchers in TX-22 and around the country loud and clear. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule is good for business, good for the environment and a victory of constitutional principles over federal bureaucracy."
Congressman Chip Roy (TX-21): “I applaud the EPA’s efforts to redefine the Obama Administration’s unconstitutional expansion of WOTUS. This new definition will provide clarity and regulatory certainty to thousands of ranchers, farmers, land owners, and energy producers in Texas. The federal government should not be in the business of regulating every pond, stream, and ditch in rural America. I look forward to continuing to work with the Trump Administration on reducing regulations and the influence of unelected bureaucrats in Washington.”
Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06): "I applaud the Trump Administration’s enduring commitment to removing and resolving the effects of harmful and burdensome regulations. The Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule was a quintessential example of the types of regulations the Trump Administration has had to rectify due to their overreaching, burdensome and stifling nature. While we can all agree that we should be good stewards of our land and waterways, that goal is not mutually exclusive with the success of our nation’s farmers, manufacturers and home builders. The Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule fulfills yet another promise made by President Trump to provide regulatory clarity and predictability for job creators in Minnesota."
Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03): "The Obama administration weaponized a well-intentioned law, placing an enormous regulatory burden on northeast Indiana’s farmers. Their greatly expanded WOTUS rule allowed the EPA to regulate too many kinds of waterways. I’ve been pushing for a repeal of the Obama-era rule since I began serving in Congress. The Trump administration’s updated rule will allow Hoosier farmers to focus on providing for their families and growing our nation’s food."
Congressman Roger Marshall (KS-01): "The EPA’s new definition of WOTUS, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, will continue to protect our environment without stifling economic growth and rebalance the relationship between the federal government and states in managing our land and water resources. Today’s announcement is yet another example of President Trump cutting burdensome regulations, delivering on another promise to slash bureaucratic red tape to empower farmers, builders, small businesses, and other land owners."
Congressman Dusty Johnson (SD-At Large): "With this final rule, South Dakota farmers, ranchers, and small businesses can benefit from a clear, predictable definition of Waters of the U.S. I applaud the administration for honoring the property rights that are so fundamental to this great country."
Congressman Scott Perry (PA-10): “I applaud the Trump Administration’s new Navigable Waters Protection Rule, as the President follows through on yet another promise to the American People,” said Congressman Scott Perry. “The rule reverses executive overreach that would have defined 99% of Pennsylvania as a “Waters of the United States” - subjecting us to significant federal control. The new rule establishes a fair definition of “Waters of the United States” that protects our waterways while providing states and localities the flexibility to manage their land and water. This is a win for Pennsylvania’s 10th District and I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and my colleagues to address additional water issues in Pennsylvania.”
Congressman Mike Simpson (ID-02): "During the last Administration, I heard consistent concerns from farmers, ranchers, small businesses, governors, and many others about the extremely broad definition of ‘waters of the United States’ under the Clean Water Act. During Congressional hearings and meetings in my office, I received no clarity between federal and state jurisdiction over which waters were regulated by who,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “That is why I am pleased the EPA and the Corps took note of those concerns and rewrote the rule in a way that maintains critical protections under the Clean Water Act, while also appropriately delegating state and local jurisdictions in charge of regulating smaller bodies of water, as the law was intended. I have great confidence in the State of Idaho given their experience and increased responsibility with State primacy."
Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02): "The previous Administration’s WOTUS Rule allowed Washington bureaucrats to regulate the streams and creeks in the backyards of Oklahomans, when in reality these bureaucrats don’t know the first thing about our backyards. I am grateful for Trump Administration for repealing that harmful rule and delivering a new rule that clearly defines what is and what is not a WOTUS. This rule strikes the right balance between the regulatory authority of the federal government and allowing the states to take care of their own natural resources."
Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-At Large): "Ending another chapter of federal overreach from the Obama era, the Trump administration’s new rule makes clear that a farm pond and a drainage ditch aren’t navigable waters. I appreciate the Trump administration’s continued efforts to roll back a burdensome federal government and protect our Montana way of life."
Congressman Michael Cloud (TX-27): “The 2015 Waters of the United States Rule was a burden to farmers and ranchers and it gave Washington control over Texas agriculture. Under this rule, the federal government labeled streams, stock ponds, or creeks on private property as “navigable waterways” so that they could regulate them. It was an unconstitutional overreach of power that devastated farmers and ranchers across South Texas. Texas knows what’s best for Texas. The updated Navigable Waters Protection Rule is a victory for Texas agriculture. I appreciate the Trump Administration protecting states’ rights and keeping Washington out of our business.”
Congressman James Comer (KY-01): "Our farmers have suffered under the heavy-handed regulations put into place by the Obama Administration. Now, President Trump’s plan of deregulation and ending inconsistent regulatory patchwork is becoming a reality through this new definition of WOTUS. Farmers and businesses across the nation have been in need of a consistent regulatory framework that allows them to function with clarity and predictability. Finally repealing the 2015 Rule will foster regulatory consistency and allow for important projects to move forward. I’m proud to support President Trump’s plan and I look forward to the effects of this new definition on Kentucky’s agriculture and inland waterway industries."
Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05): "I applaud President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for listening to our farmers and ranchers and acting to repeal the flawed Obama-era Waters of the United States rule and appropriately redefining Waters of the United States. The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule will provide clarity and regulatory certainty to farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers in Colorado and throughout the nation by clearly defining the difference between federally regulated waterways and those waters that rightfully remain solely under state authority. This action restores the federal-state partnership that Congress originally intended under the Clean Water Act and returns jurisdiction to State and local authorities, who are better able to manage their own waters."
Congressman Ron Wright (TX-06): "The Administration’s new WOTUS rule is a breath of fresh air for farmers and ranchers not only in my district but across the state of Texas. I applaud President Trump for including stakeholders in this process and for keeping his promise to give state and local municipalities the authority to manage their natural resources and grow our local economies."
Congressman Bob Gibbs (OH-07): "Our nation’s farmers, ranchers, homebuilders, state environmental agencies, among others needed the clarity of a responsible, balanced water protection rule. Unfortunately the Obama-era WOTUS rule expanded federal authority beyond its intended scope and muddied the waters of compliance and jurisdiction. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule is a welcome proposal that understands that economic growth and environmental protection work hand in hand. When crafting this new rule, he Trump Administration did what the Obama Administration never seemed to do with WOTUS: listen to and consult the stakeholders who work every day to ensure safe water quality. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule clarifies jurisdictions and respects the federal-state partnership while maintaining important environmental safeguards."
Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01): "The far-reaching Obama-era WOTUS rule greatly expanded the EPA’s regulatory reach into all waters, from designated rivers to your backyard pond to a ditch along the highway. This capricious overreach caused massive confusion and anxiety among landowners, famers, and businesses. I am glad to see this issue finally resolved so states can once again regulate their own waters and private citizens do not have to live in fear."
Congressman Ralph Abraham (LA-05): "This is great news for our farmers and ranchers whose livelihood would have been severely disrupted by Obama’s overreaching EPA regulations. The government has no business regulating mud puddles and drainage ditches as navigable waterways and I thank President Trump for recognizing this reality and coming to the defense of our agriculture industry."
Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02): "Yet again, President Trump has delivered on another promise by rewriting the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition that imposed over-burdensome regulations on Kansas farmers and ranchers. The WOTUS rule was a disaster for agriculture producers, and this new rule provides clarity, predictability, and consistency that our farmers deserve. I applaud President Trump for working tirelessly to cut unnecessary regulatory burdens that have stifled American innovation and economic development."
Congressman Thomas Massie (KY-04): “President Trump’s final WOTUS rule rolls back government overreach for Kentucky farmers, ranchers, and homebuilders. President Trump made a promise to reform this unconstitutional Obama-era rule. Today, he kept that promise.”
Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-09): "The Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule was an egregious case of regulatory overreach. If enacted, it would have been devastating to farmers in the Appalachian region of our country. The Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule will protect the environment while offering clarity and consistency for farmers and landowners. They will not have to devote their resources to determining whether intermittent-flow streams and rivulets are covered by federal regulation. This rule is good for clean water and for farmers."
Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01): "Congratulations to the EPA and the Corps of Engineers for their fine efforts to reign the federal government back toward the intent of the Constitution. The Commerce Clause of the Constitution does not include the mention of navigable waters, but the federal government was authorized to regulate interstate trade. Over 200 years later, the federal government had decided that navigable waterways had to be federally regulated to be able to properly and fairly regulate trade. In 2015, the Waters of the U.S. under the last administration took that grab to a level that was absolutely unfathomable by this nation’s founders. Under Pres. Trump’s direction, that is now being reigned in and we are extremely pleased that it is. It does appear that the EPA & Corps of Engineers still have more to do to fulfill what President Trump directed, but this is a very nice start. There will still be litigation and hopefully legislation to achieve what additionally needs to be done, since this rule still allows the EPA and Corps of Engineers to control things that should not be under federal control. As the founders understood, you cannot have incentives to become the most free and productive nation on earth without private property. We do have to be good stewards of the land and water just as God intended, but control of much of what the federal entities previously grabbed was reserved for the states and the people. I applaud these initial steps that the EPA & Corps of Engineers have taken and want to encourage them to keep up these good steps in the right direction."
Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-12): “Ohio’s farmers, ranchers, and small business owners face enough uncertainty as it is. That’s why I’m thrilled to see the administration keep its promise to them by cutting back on overreaching regulations and fostering the relationship between federal, state, and local governments to protect our environment and agriculture community alike.”
Congressman Greg Pence (IN-06): “I applaud the Trump Administration's repeal of the overburdensome Obama-era WOTUS regulations. As a result of this decision, our farmers and landowners can worry less about government overreach on their own property and instead focus on building and growing their farms and small businesses. We finally have an Administration that puts our farmers first and for Hoosiers that's a big deal.”
Congressman Glenn Thompson (PA-15): “For decades, unclear regulatory definitions under the Clean Water Act have placed undue burdens on farmers, private landowners, and counties nationwide. Often, this ambiguity has left enforcement agencies, courts, and private citizens with contradictory, piecemeal opinions and drawn out regulatory reviews,” said Representative Glenn Thompson (PA-15). “In March 2017, President Trump took the first action at repealing the flawed WOTUS Rule. Today, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule will be a positive step in the right direction to bring clarity to the ‘navigable waters’ definition, while protecting states’ authority under the Clean Water Act.”
Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13): “For far too long our farmers have been burdened with duplicative, confusing and overreaching federal regulations in an attempt to regulate water in farm ponds and ditches, which I have fought against for years.
This Administration’s new Navigable Waters Protection Rule is a common sense fix that protects the true intention of the Clean Water Act. This rule will provide certainty by clearly defining the waters that fall under federal regulation, and equally important, the waters that do not. This is an important win for states, our local farmers and the environment.”
Congressman Russ Fulcher (ID-01): “The Obama Administration's Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule was the definition of federal overreach and an attempt to control Idaho’s waterways. As I’ve followed water policy during my tenure in the Idaho state legislature, I understand that federal mandates do not work for Idahoans. I commend the Trump Administration for keeping their promise and reestablishing the appropriate state authority in relation to the Clean Water Act. This new rule will help Idaho farms, businesses, and other job creators so our state can continue to thrive as an economic leader in our nation."
Congressman Glenn Grothman (WI-06): President Trump’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency delivered another win today for Wisconsin’s 6th District by reforming a rule that ensures water protections remain strong, while allowing farmers, landowners and businesses flexibility to decide how best to manage their natural resources. This newly reformed rule will reduce federal red tape, while keeping important environmental protections in place.
Congressman Clay Higgins (LA-03): “President Trump has kept his promise to redefine the Waters of the U.S. rule and restore authority to the 50 sovereign states. The new rule rolls back federal regulatory overreach, eliminating the Obama administration’s ridiculous interpretation that puddles, ditches, tractor tire ruts, and farm ponds could be considered navigable waterways. This is a win for American freedom, and for farmers, ranchers, and landowners across Louisiana and throughout the United States. Under the new WOTUS rule, Americans will have greater autonomy to manage their own land.”
Congresswoman Carol Miller (WV-03): "Thank you President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for redefining Obama’s WOTUS rule and standing up for all Americans. This will successfully cut red tape and roll back government overreach, while protecting the environment and growing the economy. Promises made and promises kept!"
Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-03): “Replacing the onerous WOTUS rule empowers states to regulate their non-navigable waters and is much more aligned with the original intent of the law. Once again, President Donald Trump fulfills his promise to rein in the federal government.”
North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest: "Farmers shouldn't have to worry about the federal government coming after them because of a ditch on their property. I thank President Trump for bringing some common-sense clarity to the Waters of the United States rule and his ongoing work to rein in overbearing federal regulations."
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge: “President Trump listened to our concerns and has kept his promise to replace the Obama-era definition of ‘waters of the United States’ and give the power back to Arkansans to determine how best to protect our environment and promote economic growth.” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This streamlined definition will give clarity and protect Arkansas’s key industries and I look forward to leading Arkansans as we work with our federal and state partners on ways to steward the Natural State’s waterways.”
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill: “The final Navigable Waters Protection Rule appropriately replaces the Obama-era rule that expanded the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ to include land areas that only get wet when it rains. This broad designation allowed federal authorities to claim jurisdiction over private property in Indiana. Hours after I had the privilege of meeting President Trump at the White House in February of 2017, he announced an executive order directing federal authorities to review the WOTUS rule, demonstrating his resolve to properly balance the needs to protect our environment, promote economic growth and respect the constitutional roles of the U.S. Congress and the individual states.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey: “The Trump administration’s new rule will protect water quality while restoring the balance and certainty that our nation needs to prosper. You cannot regulate a puddle as you do a river and doing so will never give us cleaner water, which is what we all want. The Obama-era approach would harm jobs and economic growth by taking jurisdiction from states and asserting federal authority over almost any body of water, including roadside ditches, short-lived streams and many other areas where water may flow only once every 100 years. The Trump rule strives to correct that, and our office is proud to support it.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr: “This is great news for Georgia landowners and farmers! The Navigable Waters Protection Rule respects the primary responsibility and right of states to protect our water resources and provides greater regulatory certainty to help us sustain economic growth.”
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson: “Any rule or regulation should be based on common sense, fairness and the rule of law. This new rule is a common-sense solution that protects our waters while also lifting unnecessary and burdensome regulations that hurt farmers, landowners, and businesses. Previous regulations went so far that they would include many roadside drainage ditches as navigable waterways, but those ditches are now mostly excluded by the new rule. This new rule clarifies what actually is a navigable waterway and gives states, local governments, tribes, and landowners more flexibility to manage their own waterways to best protect them.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter: “The Navigable Waters Protection Rule restores the state’s authority to ensure clean water in Oklahoma, and frees farmers, ranchers, developers and other land owners from costly regulation over every puddle and dry ditch on their property. No longer will our citizens bear the brunt of the economically destructive bureaucratic overreach of the Obama-era WOTUS Rule. The new rule protects our environment while providing clarity and consistency, and will allow for sustained economic growth. The administration is to be commended for making this a priority.”
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles: "Kentucky and American agricultural producers are relieved by the unveiling of a new and improved Waters Of The United States rule today from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler. The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule reduces government overreach, upholds the rule of law, and eliminates burdens on farm families. I thank Administrator Wheeler for working to reverse the anti-business and anti-farmer regulations of the previous Administration. Under President Trump’s administration, we truly have a group of leaders who are listening to the needs of agriculture."
Oklahoma Secretary of Energy & Environment Kenneth Wagner: "I am very pleased President Trump continues to fulfill his promises to the American people. The new definition for “Waters of the United States” will provide the much needed regulatory certainty and predictability necessary for protecting waters and keeping our economy growing strong. The new rule restores the proper balance between the federal government and the states as originally envisioned by Congress. We greatly welcome this rule as it will will have many positive impacts for the Great State of Oklahoma."
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring: “We appreciate that exclusions are clearly defined and will allow farmers and ranchers to visually see what is and is not jurisdictional, without forcing them to hire consultants. No one loves our land and resources more than we do. We drink the water, produce the food and raise our families on the land, with an eye to the future.”
“Unlike the 2015 rule, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, proposed in 2018, was crafted with better input from stakeholders. States have intimate knowledge of their resources and are much better equipped to understand the specific and unique needs of our people and industries. We welcome the clarity and predictability that this rule will provide for states and landowners.”
Johnson County Commissioner Mike Brown (KS): “The Trump Administration has applied long overdue common-sense guidelines in reforming the onerously stringent Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rules... and it has made all the difference for our agricultural, land development and construction industries. As a County Commissioner, General Contractor and long-time member of the Kansas Wheat Growers Association I see and hear first hand how much positive impact these changes will immediately have on these critical industries of Johnson County, the State of Kansas and the USA. Another obstacle has now been removed and a collective sigh of relief can be heard on the fruited plain as further restrictions are pulled off industry and the economic machines are allowed to do what they does best! A HUGE thank you to President Trump and his Administration!”
Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo (CO): When the Federal government realizes that the state and local governments know more about the needs of their own jurisdictions, it make the entire rules and Reg’s process better for We the People. This Water Protection rule does just that. It gives more flexibility to the State and Local entities to manage the unique needs of their own jurisdictions. We are not all the same and I am glad to see that the EPA recognizes that."
Iowa State Representative Linda Upmeyer: "Water quality is an important issue for so many and must be done using a common sense approach. President Trump's revised WOTUS rule is a significant improvement over the previous which was highly onerous and overreaching. Thank you President Trump for keeping your promise to continue supporting Iowa's farmers."
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “Farmers and ranchers care about clean water and preserving the land, which are essential to producing healthy food and fiber and ensuring future generations can do the same. That’s why we support the new clean water rule. It provides clarity and certainty, allowing farmers to understand water regulations without having to hire teams of consultants and lawyers. We appreciate the commitment of the agencies involved and this administration to crafting a new regulation that achieves important regulatory oversight while allowing farmers to farm. Clean water, clear rules.”
National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons: “Manufacturers were proud to wage the court fights that invalidated the overreaching and unreasonable past rule. Today’s announcement bolsters manufacturers’ confidence and empowers us to invest in our communities and expand our work in America, while also continuing our leadership for responsible environmental stewardship. This is the smart, balanced regulation America deserves. And make no mistake: manufacturers will keep our promise to deliver cleaner water for future generations, in our operations and through the innovations we pioneer.”
U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute President Marty Durbin: “Today’s announcement brings us a step closer to clean water regulations that are clear and consistent. The new rule distinguishes between waters that are regulated by the federal government and those that are regulated by the states, making it easier for businesses, states and local governments to understand their obligations. We look forward to continued progress on water quality under this sensible regulation and applaud the Administration for their leadership on this important issue.”
American Petroleum Institute Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola: “Clear, easily implemented and legally sound permitting regulations help regulators, landowners and property developers from all industries make sound resource allocation decisions that protect the environment while facilitating economic growth. API applauds the efforts that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps of Engineers made to incorporate the feedback they received from all stakeholders during the pre-rule outreach period and the proposed rule comment period. Today’s rule safeguards U.S. waters while respecting the critical role the states play in environmental protection under cooperative federalism.”
National Association of Home Builders Chairman Greg Ugalde: “NAHB commends the Trump administration for finalizing a new definition for its waters of the U.S. rule that will boost housing affordability by clarifying the limits of federal jurisdiction over certain ‘waterbodies.’ By excluding most man-made ditches and isolated ponds on private property from federal jurisdiction, the new rule will correct the vast overreach of prior rules, restore common sense to the regulatory process, reduce project costs and maintain environmental protection of our nation’s waterways.”
Associated General Contractors of America CEO Stephen E. Sandherr: “The new clean water rule employs sound administrative policy to protect our vital waterways while providing permitting clarity for infrastructure and development projects to proceed in a timely manner. We expect this rule will put an end to the regulatory uncertainty and bureaucratic confusion that threatened to stifle countless essential projects to improve our infrastructure and the environment across the country.”
American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle: "Today, President Trump made good on another important promise by replacing a federal regulation that was considered by many experts as an unprecedented attack on the private property rights of rural Americas. The Obama WOTUS rule would have unnecessarily harmed America's farmers, ranches, and energy producers with no meaningful environmental benefit."
"This much improved definition returns the proper role of the states in water regulation, restraining the federal government to interstate waters. It recognizes the obvious fact that water and land use conditions, and thus their needed regulation, are far different in Arizona or Michigan than in Florida or Idaho. The Clean Water Act explicitly says that states are the primary regulators when it comes to water and this rule seeks to better effect that statutory mandate."
"Ultimately, the scope of federal regulatory authority over water must be decided definitively by the Supreme Court, but the American Energy Alliance applauds the administration for seeking to minimize regulatory burdens until such a ruling is made."
National Mining Association President and CEO Rich Nolan: “This updated rule provides the certainty and clarity that Clean Water Act (CWA) implementation has lacked for decades. It will now allow American businesses, including the nation’s mining industry, to make confident decisions that will create jobs, strengthen local communities and provide the energy and materials that are the foundation of our economy. Our industry and so many others welcome the rule’s clear, commonsense delineations between state and federal waterways. The 2015 rule, which unlawfully expanded the scope of federal CWA jurisdiction, was a shining example of the last administration’s propensity for federal overreach.”
Waters Advocacy Coalition: “Today’s new clean water rule represents small changes with a big positive impact that is better for the economy and protects the environment. It provides the regulatory clarity and certainty small businesses need to make confident decisions to produce goods and services, create jobs, build infrastructure, grow our food, and strengthen local economies.
“This new rule does not reduce or remove environmental protections of any waters—it simply brings clarity to which level of government oversees which body of water under the federal-state partnership established by the Clean Water Act.
“The Waters Advocacy Coalition is a broad cross-section of farmers, builders, manufacturers and other small businesses committed to protecting the environment and the communities in which we live and work. This new rule accomplishes that goal by bringing clarity to the lines of authority under the federal-state partnership established by the Clean Water Act.”
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) CEO Dr. Barbara P. Glenn: “We are thrilled at the announcement of a new water rule to provide our farming community with certainty and a clear view of how water will be regulated on their land. We have been functioning under a tangled patchwork of water regulation for far too long. As leading state ag officials, NASDA members are responsible for protecting natural resources in conjunction with the Clean Water Act. We look forward to working with the EPA to implement the rule and eliminate ambiguity while safeguarding our nation’s water resources.”
American Legislative Exchange Council CEO Lisa B. Nelson: "We applaud the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which will provide clarity to farmers, ranchers, and landowners about which bodies of water are regulated by the federal government. Under the previous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, many ponds, streams, and irrigation ditches traditionally overseen by land owners and state governments fell under the control of the federal government, creating uncertainty over property rights. The Trump administration’s new rule promotes federalism by defining which bodies of water are regulated by the federal government and giving greater control to state, tribal, and local governments."
Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President and CEO Daren Coppock: “The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule provides much-needed clarity for agricultural retailers and their farmer customers. We are pleased the new rule is realistic, practical, consistent with the Clean Water Act and based on science. The rule it replaces was not realistic or practical, and it overstepped the boundaries of its authorizing statute. Under this rule, our members and their farmer customers will be able to operate with much more certainty. And the waters of the United States will continue to be protected as required by Congress, despite the doomsday predictions of some opponents.
“ARA members appreciate the steps EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers took to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule last year and finally issuing this commonsense replacement.”
National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Jennifer Houston: “This is the last regulatory step in a long-fought battle to repeal the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and replace it with common-sense regulation. The 2015 WOTUS rule was an illegal effort to assert control over private property - and we fought to have it repealed - but it also needs to be replaced, and today’s action is the last step in that process.
“President Trump, EPA Administrator Wheeler, and Assistant Secretary of the Army R.D. James deserve a lot of credit for listening to cattle producers and for working with us to get us to this point. We look forward to working with EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to successfully implement this new rule in the years to come.
“NCBA relentlessly fought WOTUS on Capitol Hill, at the Agencies, and in the Courts. Today, we can rest a little easier knowing that some power has been put back in the hands of landowners.”
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson: “Family farmers and ranchers have been confused by ambiguous water regulations for many years. Now that we have a more precise definition of WOTUS, we hope that farmers will better understand which kinds of water are subject to federal authority and which are not.
“But farmers don’t just need greater clarity – they also need access to clean, safe water for their families, their farms, and their communities. These needs are not mutually exclusive; when regulating natural resources, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers must balance certainty for farmers, ranchers, and property owners with protections for our water supply.
“And while Farmers Union policy generally supports local decision-making, some states may be unprepared to regulate significantly more waterways. Moving forward, we will review the final rule closely to assess its full impacts on family farmers and ranchers and rural communities.”
National Federation of Independent Business Executive Director of the Small Business Legal Center Karen Harned: “This is exactly what the small business community has been calling for. The rules defining Clean Water Act jurisdiction and ‘waters of the United States’ have been convoluted and murky for far too long; so, today’s rule provides long-awaited relief for small business landowners. It provides clarity and predictability while protecting the environment at the same time.”
AXPC CEO Anne Bradbury: “America’s oil and natural gas companies need predictability and consistency to responsibly develop our vast natural resources in a safe, efficient and environmentally protective way. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule provides America’s energy industry with clarity, while preserving environmental protections for our nation’s water resources.”
“The protection of water resources is a top priority for AXPC members. Across all levels of energy operations, regulations help ensure the well-being of our environment and communities, and the safety of employees and contractors.”
National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C.: "We're pleased EPA has finalized a common-sense rule, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, that works with—not against—farmers to protect our nation's waterways. The previous WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands. Today's action balances the role of federal, state and local authorities, protects property rights and provides clarity for farmers like me, while providing regulatory certainty to our farmers and businesses."
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson: “The new rule is a sensible regulation that provides regulatory clarity, protects the environment and recognizes the important role of states in managing the nation’s water resources. The 2015 WOTUS rule would have increased regulatory delay and costs for electric co-ops to maintain and build critical infrastructure. The new rule will facilitate this important work as co-ops strive to meet growing energy needs.”
American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President Dave Bauer: "The Trump administration’s rewrite of the 2015 “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule will help restore clarity to federal wetlands regulations and reduce delays to important transportation improvements. The new rule recognizes that delay and uncertainty only serve to increase transportation project costs."
Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn: "EEI and our member companies applaud the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers for finalizing the new, clear WOTUS definition that protects our nation’s waters while also providing regulatory certainty to our industry as we continue our clean energy transformation.
"Across the country, EEI’s member companies are investing more than $110 billion annually in smarter energy infrastructure. Having clear regulatory guidance enables us to site, permit, build, and operate the energy infrastructure we need to deliver the clean energy future that our customers want and expect."
National Milk Producers Federation: "Today’s action puts an end to years of contentious rulemaking and will provide a common-sense approach to regulating waters of the U.S. ... NMPF has engaged with EPA on this issue for years, in meetings and in numerous written comments, seeking improvements to the 1986 WOTUS rule, which lacked clarity for farmers. While NMPF will need to carefully review today’s new rule, we were pleased with the proposed rule and believe it will provide much-needed clarity and not infringe on the rights and responsibilities of state jurisdictions."
Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow Daren Bakst: “For decades, the EPA and Corps have ignored the Clean Water Act and the U.S. Constitution to regulate almost every water imaginable, culminating in the Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule that took the disrespect for the rule of law to a new level. To its credit, the Trump Administration is trying something different with its new final rule on navigable waters: it is trying to actually follow the law.
“While the law may be an inconvenient nuisance for those who believe in concentrated federal power, the EPA and Corps may not simply ignore what Congress has directed or the limits placed on the agencies by the U.S. Constitution. Beyond simply following the law, this new rule rightfully rejects the idea that Washington bureaucrats must regulate every drop of water in the country in order to effectively protect our nation’s waters.
“The final rule is also designed to protect the environment while respecting the property rights of all Americans. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule will help end the excessive overreach of the past that caused regulatory nightmares for so many Americans, including farmers who simply wanted to farm their land and families looking to build their homes. Further, by having greater clarity, the EPA and Corps will be better able to implement and enforce the law, which should help lead to a cleaner environment.
“There is still a need to take the time to carefully review the rule. However, it is clear from the outset that this new rule shows a respect for the rule of law, federalism, Congress, individual rights, and the environment that has been sorely lacking.”
The Heartland Institute Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy James Taylor: “President Trump delivered wonderful news for Americans who have been oppressed by EPA bullying and overreach. In recent years, EPA has asserted jurisdiction over all sorts of waterways. State and local governments are far better at providing environmental stewardship best suited to their communities than federal bureaucrats in Washington, DC who are beholden to extremist environmental groups. This is another promise delivered by the Trump administration and Americans should be greatly pleased.”
The Heartland Institute Senior Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.: “The Trump administration’s Clean Water Act (CWA) regulatory reforms are not a roll-back of environmental protections but rather an acknowledgment that previous administrations had gone far beyond legitimate federal powers under CWA to regulate the uses of ephemeral, or seasonal, temporary streams or isolated wetlands not connected to navigable waters. CWA was intended to safeguard drinking water and shipping, not prevent farmers, ranchers, and potential home-builders from using their property in productive ways on the grounds that some soggy spot or isolated stream bed might be affected by development.
“Under the Constitution, if the federal government wants to control the use of private property for public purposes it is supposed to pay for that privilege, and under the Constitution’s federalist structure, for non-navigable waterways – or wetlands, ponds, and lakes that don’t cross interstate boundaries or aren’t federally created or managed – it is up to the states to decide what kinds of regulations, if any, to place upon their use.
“With these rule changes, the Trump administration is simply acknowledging the Constitution never authorized the federal government to impose national zoning across the nation.”
The Hearland Institute Policy Analyst Tim Benson: “The Obama-era regulations constituted a large expansion of federal power and a usurpation of states’ authority, representing a threat to property rights and private enterprise. Property owners, farmers, and business owners faced mounds of new, onerous restrictions, red tape, and costs before being allowed to alter their land in even the smallest way. It’s a credit to the Trump administration that they’re rolling these regulations back.”