Last week, EPA Administrator Michael Regan defended his agency’s issuing its final WOTUS rule in December, ahead of what could be a watershed Supreme Court WOTUS ruling later this year.  Regan was pressed by Republican senators at an Environment and Public Works hearing on why EPA jumped ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling expected by June in Sackett vs. EPA, a case many believe could clarify the definition of a Water of the United States.


“If we had waited until this ruling in June, we would have had to start a two-year process, if not more, and that would have left a lot more uncertainty, because of the (vacature) of the Trump rule, and because the Obama rule was not in place.”

Nebraska Senator Pete Ricketts then asked Regan if EPA will have to start a new two-year rulemaking anyway, after the Supreme Court rules.


“No, we believe that there are other aspects of WOTUS that we have already taken care of, and we will adjust to that new definition. WOTUS is a little bit more expansive and impactful than just navigable waters. So, we’ve taken care of all those other externalities, we would adjust whatever decision we get from Sackett, and then we would be moving forward on what we predict to be a much shorter timeframe.”


GOP senators repeatedly challenged Regan on the Clean Water Act’s definition of a WOTUS as a navigable water, not an intermittent stream or other farm feature that leads to a navigable water.  Some complained Regan and EPA were ignoring 25 states who’ve sued to pause the Biden rule.  Two states, Idaho and Texas, have successfully had the rule paused.


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