Cheyenne, OK – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after U.S. District Court of North Dakota Judge Daniel Hovland granted a preliminary injunction, prohibiting the enforcement, implementation, or application of the Biden Administration’s revised “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. Oklahoma and 23 other states filed the complaint against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) earlier this year.
“Beginning with the Obama Administration and furthered by the President Biden, WOTUS has continued to burden farmers, ranchers, and landowners with overreaching and unworkable regulations. America’s farmers, ranchers, and landowners deserve a WOTUS definition that is fair and provides regulatory clarity and certainty to agriculture and businesses,” said Congressman Lucas. “I applaud the U.S. District Court’s preliminary injunction of the Biden Administration’s WOTUS rule, and I remain optimistic that the Supreme Court will provide nationwide clarity soon.”
In 2015, the Obama Administration’s WOTUS Rule significantly expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” and gave the federal government authority to regulate almost any waters, including streams, ditches, ponds, and creeks.
In 2020, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), finalized by the Trump Administration, revised the definition of WOTUS and reversed this overreach, bringing back a balance between federal and state jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.
Following his inauguration on January 20th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 13990 which directed federal agencies to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions promulgated, issued, or adopted between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021, including the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.
Under the direction of Executive Order 13990, on June 9th, 2021, the EPA and the U.S. Department of the Army announced their intent to revise the definition of WOTUS. Lucas strongly opposed the Biden Administration’s Order.
On December 30, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a final rule to again redefine WOTUS per the Clean Water Act.
On March 9, 2023, the U.S. House passed H.J. Res. 27, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on the Biden Administration’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. On March 29th, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the resolution overturning the Biden Administration’s WOTUS rule by a vote of 53-43.
On April 6, 2023, President Biden vetoed the CRA resolution.
Currently, the United States Supreme Court is considering Sackett v. EPA, a federal court case related to the jurisdiction of the EPA and federal government and the scope of the Clean Water Act.