On Thursday, Idaho Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo as well as West Virginia's Shelley Moore Capito, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, joined 47 of their Senate Republican colleagues in introducing a formal challenge to the Biden administration’s WOTUS rule.  That challenge came via a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval.  The resolution comes after the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a new rule in December 2022 repealing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, and changing the definition of Waters of the United States in a way that Republicans say will expand federal regulatory authority.


“The Biden administration is unsurprisingly following President Obama in conflating ditches and puddles with rivers and lakes," Risch noted.  "The egregious definition of navigable waterways that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers intend to use—instead of the reasonable definition created through the Navigable Waters Protection Rule—will have a crippling effect on Idaho’s farmers, ranchers, and landowners. The negative effects of the Biden administration’s new rule is so far reaching that it is only fair that Congress have the opportunity to vote on it with a Congressional Review Act. This resolution of disapproval signals to President Biden that his Administration cannot impede on Idaho’s land and waters and it should reverse this attempted rule change."


“The Biden Administration continues its efforts to trample on states’ water rights," Crapo said.  "This rule only brings further regulatory uncertainty to Idaho’s farmers, ranchers and water users.  Effective and environmentally-sound water quality management policies are best decided by state and local on-the-ground experts, and I will continue fighting to protect Idaho water sovereignty."


“With its overreaching navigable waters rule, the Biden administration upended regulatory certainty and placed unnecessary burdens directly on millions of Americans,” Capito said.  “This Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval will give every member of Congress the chance to stand with farmers, ranchers, landowners, and builders, and protect future transportation, infrastructure, and energy projects of all kinds in their states. I appreciate the widespread support we’ve received in both the Senate and House, and across the country, as we fight to place an important check on this misguided overreach from the Biden administration.”


An identical resolution has been introduced in the House.


Click Here to read the Senate's proposal.


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