FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2021
CONTACT: Claire Nance
WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Rick Crawford (R-AR), French Hill (R-AR), and Steve Womack (R-AR), along with Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and John Boozman (R-AR) sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Regan and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Pinkham condemning the decision by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to repeal and replace the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR).
“Under the Trump Administration’s NWPR, states, localities, tribes, and private landowners maintained sovereignty over their waterways. Businesses, farmers, and foresters were empowered to conduct business without harmful regulation preventing the proper growth of Arkansas’ economy,” said Congressman Westerman. “States have a vested interest in the environmental protection of their waterways and are fully capable of maintaining environmental standards without unnecessary and overbearing Federal oversight.”
In part, the members wrote, “The NWPR preserves our waterways while giving producers and landowners the clarity they need to farm and build without burdensome regulations and government overreach.”
“Arkansans are good stewards of the land and should make their own decisions about their own property—as they have for generations—without the EPA looking over their shoulders,” the members continued.
On June 9, 2021, EPA and the Corps announced their intent to initiate a regulatory rulemaking to roll back the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR). On April 21, 2020, EPA and USACE finalized the NWPR, which defined the federal government’s Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting jurisdiction by streamlining what waters are considered “waters of the United States.”
The Navigable Waters Protection Rule replaced the 2015 Obama Administration’s Water of the United States (WOTUS) Rule and sought to more narrowly define the term “water of the United States” after two Supreme Court rulings interpreted the scope of the Clean Water Act more narrowly than previous EPA and Corps regulation and guidance under the WOTUS rule. In 2016, Congress voted to nullify the Obama Administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, later vetoed by President Obama.
Full text of the letter may be found here.