Washington, DC – Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives 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. The legislation was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer (RNC), House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), and Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK). The resolution passed with a bipartisan vote of 227-198.
“Oklahoma’s farmers, ranchers, landowners, and small business owners are feeling the squeeze of record inflation, high input costs, supply chain constraints- and on top of all that burdensome regulations of the Biden Administration. Oklahomans deserve a WOTUS definition that provides clarity, regulatory certainty, and allows them to continue to be responsible stewards of their land,” said Congressman Lucas. “I applaud the House for passing our bipartisan resolution, and look forward to the Senate continuing our work to ensure overreaching regulations don’t further hinder the work and lives of our fellow Americans.”
If signed into law, the House Joint Resolution would terminate the Biden WOTUS rulemaking utilizing the CRA, which provides a mechanism for Congress to overturn certain final agency actions. An identical Senate Joint Resolution, led by Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), was also introduced in the Senate.
“American families, farmers, small businesses, and entire communities are suffering under the economic crises caused by the disastrous Biden policies of the last two years. The last thing they need is this Administration’s inexplicable decision to move the country back toward the overreaching, costly, and burdensome regulations of the past, which is exactly what this WOTUS rule does,” said Chairman Graves. “I now look forward to continuing to work with our leadership, our committee colleagues, Senator Capito, and all opponents of this unnecessary rule to ensure our legislation is sent to the President’s desk.”
“President Biden’s new WOTUS rule is a nuclear warhead aimed squarely at our farm families, small businesses, homebuilders, every property owner, and entire communities because of its overreaching definition,” said Congressman Rouzer. “Cloaked under the guise of clean water, all this rule does is expand the federal government’s control over states, localities, and private landowners, making it harder to farm, build, and generate economic prosperity. I encourage the Senate to pass this commonsense resolution to push back against onerous rules like this one.”
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.
In January 2023, Lucas joined Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and 193 House Republicans in sending a letter strongly opposing the Biden Administration’s recent “waters of the United States” rule.