Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule Needs to Stay, Senators Say
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined a Senate resolution expressing the need for the U.S. Senate to stand with farmers, ranchers, landowners and businesses by upholding the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule, which replaced the controversial and burdensome Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
“I fought the Obama administration’s overreaching WOTUS rule and worked to overturn it. It gave the federal government the authority to control virtually every ditch, pond and puddle on private land in Arkansas, creating uncertainty and raising concerns about inconsistent implementation among family farms, homeowners and small businesses. Arkansans have a vested interest in preserving our land and ensuring clean water, so the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule was welcome relief given that it follows the Congressional intent of the Clean Water Act and trusts states and local governments to protect waters within their jurisdiction. I’ve joined my colleagues to tell the Biden administration to maintain this rule, in this form, to give confidence to Arkansans and all Americans that another federal power-grab is not forthcoming,” Boozman said.
“The Navigable Water Protection rule preserves our waterways while respecting the livelihoods of farmers and the rights of private landowners. They can’t afford a return to the heavy-handed WOTUS rule of the Obama-era—and we won’t allow it. If the Biden administration wants to protect clean water and America’s agriculture producers, it should let the Navigable Water Protection Rule stand,” Cotton said.
Boozman and Cotton joined 23 of their colleagues in this resolution, led by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), including Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD), James Risch (R-ID), John Barasso (R-WY), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Steve Daines (R-MT), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Braun (R-IN) and Ron Johnson (R-WI).
In 2015, the Obama administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of the Waters of the United States—giving the federal government authority to regulate almost all of the water in Arkansas—and created confusion and burdensome red tape for Arkansas’s agriculture industry, private landowners and businesses. Before the rule was even finalized, Boozman called on the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to abandon the rule and introduced legislation to halt it. He also led efforts to nullify the rule through the Congressional Review Act.
Boozman praised the Trump administration upon its announcement that it was dismantling WOTUS and would work to fashion a new regulation that clearly defines the difference between federally protected and state protected wetlands by creating four clear categories of waters that are federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. The new Navigable Waters Protection rule was finalized last year.
Last week, on day one of his administration, President Biden signed an executive order that would roll back the Trump administration’s executive order which began the process of replacing Obama’s WOTUS rule.