News Releases from Headquarters›Water (OW)
What They Are Saying | EPA, U.S. Army Repeal 2015 Rule Defining “Waters of the United States”
WASHINGTON (September 13, 2019) – Yesterday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Department of the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James announced that the agencies are repealing a 2015 rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. Congress and stakeholders had the following to say:
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue: “Repealing the WOTUS rule is a major win for American agriculture. The extreme overreach from the past Administration had government taking the productivity of the land people had worked for years. Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the land, taking great care to preserve it for generations to come. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers to do what they do best – feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.”
U.S. Senator John Barrasso (Wyoming), chair of Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works: “The WOTUS rule would have put backyard ponds, puddles, and prairie potholes under Washington’s control. I applaud the Trump administration for working to remove this outrageous regulation. Americans deserve clean water and clear rules. We need rules that protect water and respect local authority.”
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (Texas): “Texans know better than most the importance of protecting water sources, but the 2015 ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule prevents farmers, landowners, and job creators from taking care of their land how they know best. Today’s announcement represents another success in breaking down President Obama’s misguided regulatory regime that harmed Texans of all walks of life.”
U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (Kansas): “I’m glad to see EPA Administrator Wheeler continuing to alleviate regulatory burdens that farmers, ranchers, and landowners faced under the outrageous 2015 WOTUS rule,” said Roberts. “This Administration has gone about this regulatory process the correct way – by listening to stakeholders. I look forward to reviewing the WOTUS replacement rule within the coming months.”
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma): “Promises made, promises kept. Starting in 2015, as the Chairman of the EPW Committee, I led the fight against the flawed, Obama-era WOTUS rule—holding hearings and pushing legislation to highlight the negative impacts of the rule. I worked hand-in-hand with President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler to repeal the burdensome regulation because of what it has done to our farmers, ranchers and local landowners in Oklahoma – this has been their most significant regulatory burden.
"States across the nation, particularly rural states like Oklahoma, have been severely harmed by the regulatory overreach of the Obama-era WOTUS rule, which has taken state and local land and unlawfully put it into the control of the federal government. Today’s action to finally end the rule continues to prove how the Trump Administration and the EPA understand the needs of farmers and rural Americans. I look forward to the new rule, which clearly defines what constitutes WOTUS, ensures our waterways are protected and returns the federal government to its proper role.”
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (Nebraska): “I have long been an advocate for eliminating the 2015 WOTUS, which represented an unprecedented overreach by the federal government at the expense of families, communities, and businesses. Nebraskans own the water in our state, and we take great care of this precious natural resource. After years of fighting WOTUS through legislative efforts, I’m pleased to see the Trump administration end this harmful rule once and for all. ”
U.S. Senator Mike Braun (Indiana): “As a member of the Ag community, I know President Trump and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler are keeping their promise to repeal the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that gave unelected bureaucrats the power to regulate lakes, streams, ponds and ditches. To compliment Trump’s deregulatory agenda, I have offered legislation that puts their work and a new definition into law so that no future administrations can treat our farmers like the previous administration did.”
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (Iowa): “For years, Iowans have told me we need to get rid of the 2015 WOTUS rule—an egregious power grab by the Obama Administration that gave the federal government authority to regulate 97 percent of our land in Iowa. That’s why I’ve fought hard to ensure we get Washington’s hands out of Iowans’ lives by scrapping Obama’s burdensome rule. I’m thrilled to see the Trump Administration take decisive action that will remove this threat to Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses, and get us one step closer to providing the predictability and certainty hardworking folks across the country deserve.”
U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (North Dakota): “The Obama-era WOTUS rule was unlawful and an unconstitutional power grab that did nothing to advance good water management, and I applaud Administrator Wheeler for fulfilling President Trump’s promise to repeal it. Today’s action eliminates the inconsistent patchwork of implementation and paves the way for the Administration to complete its much-needed final rule. I look forward to continuing to work with them on a replacement that is legally sound and puts states back in the driver’s seat.”
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (Missouri): “The Obama-era WOTUS rule was an example of the worst kind of regulatory overreach. It was the product of radical environmentalists seeking to impose their left-wing agenda on America’s heartland—especially on the farmers and ranchers in places like Missouri. Their 2015 rule intended to heap heavy-handed regulations on every puddle of water and drainage ditch on private farm land.
"Farmers take much better care of their own land than the bureaucrats in Washington ever could. As Attorney General of Missouri, I helped lead the effort to fight against the burdensome WOTUS rule. Now as a Senator, I’m proud to support President Trump in rolling it back and restoring the original intent of the Clean Water Act. With this step, we can create a more uniform system for local farmers and communities to move forward.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine: “The previous rule went beyond the authority granted by Congress and created uncertainty for farmers and landowners. President Trump’s revised rule respects the rule of law, federalism, and the role that states like Ohio have traditionally taken to protect our local waterways.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis: “States should have the power to establish policies that balance the interests of private landowners, farmers, businesses and the State," said Governor Ron DeSantis. “As Governor of Florida, I’ve dedicated significant resources to ensuring the protection of our water resources and have demonstrated how states are more successful when they have jurisdiction over their own waterways. Overreaching federal regulations, such as the 2015 WOTUS rule, achieve the opposite results leading to onerous conditions that trample on the rights of states and individuals. I applaud the Trump administration for repealing this rule and returning appropriate decision-making rules to the state.”
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts: “The Obama Administration overstepped its legal authority and needlessly burdened states with its ‘waters of the United States’ rule in 2015,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “I’m pleased that the EPA, under President Trump, has restored the simpler and clearer definition that existed prior to the 2015 rule change. This decision removes regulatory impediments to economic growth while preserving our country’s commitment to the wise stewardship of water resources.”
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum:“The EPA’s decision today to repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule is an important step for local decision-making and a recognition of states’ ability to manage their own waters effectively. The 2015 rule created confusion and uncertainty for landowners and local governments by effectively classifying almost every pond, pothole and slough as a federal managed waterway. North Dakotans care deeply about clean water and our state has some of the cleanest water in the nation. We thank EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for today’s announcement to finalize the repeal of this rule.”
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt: “Withdrawal of the disastrous 2015 Waters of the United States definition recognizes that states are in the best position to protect the waters within its borders that do not affect interstate commerce. The 2015 Rule was a direct affront to private property rights as well as the powers reserved to the states under the Constitution. Bravo to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for taking this important step.
"Oklahoma looks forward to the thoughtful, well-supported definition that clearly and objectively determines what waters are jurisdictional waters under the federal rule.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott: “Since my time as Attorney General, I have been fighting this unlawful Obama-era WOTUS rule and I am pleased that President Trump's administration has decided to move forward with repeal. Like so many job-killing regulations from that era, the 2015 WOTUS rule thumbed its nose at constitutional and statutory limits that constrain the federal government. With today’s repeal, President Trump and Administrator Wheeler are honoring those limits and declaring a victory for the rule of law on behalf of landowners across the country. I applaud their decision to protect private property rights by disavowing an unlawful federal power grab.”
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds: “The 2015 WOTUS rule was egregious Washington overreach that would have subjected a puddle of water to federal government control.
“By repealing this reckless regulation, President Trump and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler provide Iowa farmers, business leaders and other important stakeholders with greater certainty, predictability and stability.
“We will continue to work alongside the President, his administration and Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to ensure any new rule protects Iowa’s water quality in a commonsense way.”
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson: “The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps today repealed a 2015 rule that expanded the definition of waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. This is a great step in providing greater regulatory consistency for farmers, developers, and others across the nation.”
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (MO-06): “The Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule was never about ensuring water quality – it was about the federal government trying to grab as much control as it could over the lives of Americans everywhere. It was a blatant overreach of the federal government, and I was appalled that farmers, small businesses, and many others were forced to comply with such far-reaching and burdensome regulations put in place by unelected bureaucrats. I commend the Trump Administration for keeping its promise to eliminate that rule and for working to provide a more certain, flexible, and realistic framework to ensure we have a healthy environment and a robust economy.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (OR-02): "Farmers and ranchers across Oregon have expressed their concerns with the overreaching Obama-era definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). They worried that the intermittent stream or irrigation ditch would be subject to burdensome new federal regulation. The EPA’s release of the final rule, which abolishes the Obama-era rule, is welcome news across rural Oregon. I applaud President Trump and his administration for listening to our farmers and ranchers and acting to repeal the flawed original rule and appropriately redefine Waters of the United States."
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) :“I commend the Trump administration for repealing the land grab attempted under President Obama through its Waters of the U.S. regulation. WOTUS attempted to stretch the reaches of federal power under the Clean Water Act from navigable and interstate waters, which are rightly protected, to encompass ditches, playas, stock ponds, and literally any body of water – regardless of how small or temporary the water may be. The Trump administration’s efforts to bring the scope of EPA’s regulatory activity back to interstate and navigable waters not only ensures that EPA’s mission comports with Supreme Court rulings, but also applies a common sense understanding of what constitutes waters of the U.S., providing legal certainty to all Americans.”
Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04), ranking member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment and chief infrastructure and forestry officer of the Congressional Western Caucus: "WOTUS has always been an inefficient and unclear set of government regulations that didn't improve water quality. The vague definition has caused confusion among farmers about what actually fell under its parameters, and it added even more red tape to the regulatory process. I'm glad to see that the EPA is clarifying and reining in the broad overreach of these regulations and restoring the federal-state partnership that Congress originally intended under the Clean Water Act. These measures will provide much-needed clarity."
Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus: "The Obama-era WOTUS Rule was an abysmal failure and represented one of the most egregious examples of federal overreach in my lifetime. President Obama’s land and water grab gave unprecedented power to bureaucrats of the D.C. Swamp at the expense of farmers, ranchers, small business owners and the American people. The Western Caucus led the charge against this misguided regulation and is thrilled to see it put out to pasture. President Trump and Administrator Wheeler’s repeal of this job-killing regulation is welcome news and will restore decision making to states and local communities."
Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01), ranking member on House Natural Resources Committee, chairman emeritus of the Congressional Western Caucus: "This welcomed move by the Trump administration is a win for Americans across the country. The benefits will be felt especially by farmers, ranchers, and landowners. This return to efficiency will usher in a new era of certainty and clarity for those who rely upon the land to support their families. Additionally, this move reinforces the administration’s commitment to paring down bureaucracy and reducing the federal government’s unnecessary intrusion into people’s lives."
Congressman John Carter (TX-31), ranking member, MilCon Subcommittee, House Appropriations: “When the Obama Administration crafted WOTUS, they gave government bureaucrats authority to regulate virtually all waters, down to the small wetland on a family farm. This rule was terrible policy and as a result, put an overwhelming burden on America’s agriculture industry. It’s a prime example of government overreach but I’m glad to finally see common sense prevail. Thank you to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for delivering this important victory for our TX-31 farmers and ranchers.”
Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-05), chief regulatory reform officer of the Congressional Western Caucus: "The Obama-era WOTUS rule amounted to one of the biggest federal overreaches in modern history. I applaud the Trump administration for taking action against this regulatory nightmare that has caused significant financial burdens on some of our country’s hardest workers."
Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), chief rules officer of the Congressional Western Caucus: "As a farmer from Central Washington, I understand how important clean water is. However, when the Obama Administration’s Waters of the United States rule expanded the definition of a ‘navigable waterway’ to include even streams, ditches, and ponds, it left many landowners subject to unprecedented federal overreach and open to divisive litigation. I applaud Administrator Wheeler for finally providing relief to our nation’s farm families. I know the farmers and ranchers of Central Washington will continue to be good stewards of their land and the environment, and this final rule will give them the certainty they deserve."
Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-09): "The Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule unlawfully grabbed power for the Federal Government at the expense of farmers and landowners. Today’s announcement of a final rule repealing the old one is welcome news. The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are now taking a better approach to protecting water quality."
Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01): "The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action today is fabulous news for all those who believe in the Constitution. For the Obama Administration to grab control over every single drop of water or state local or private land was such an abdominal, unconstitutional power grab. Constituents from every area of my district were outraged at the Obama Administration’s totalitarian seizure of control over non-federal property and water. ‘Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) rule extended federal authority over all the country’s streams, rivers and wetlands. The EPA made the right call to safeguard the water rights of hard-working Americans by ending the federal power grab the Obama Administration engineered."
Congressman Bob Gibbs (OH-07):"The EPA’s announcement of the final repeal of the Obama Administration’s 2015 Waters of the United States Rule is welcome relief for our nation’s farmers, ranchers, homebuilders, and homeowners. The previous rule raised serious concerns about the expansion of federal power over private property rights. The rule was also clouded by the EPA’s public promotion campaign that violated federal law. I have been fighting tooth and nail to repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule since it was first proposed. The next WOTUS rule must maintain the important balance between private property rights and environmental protection. I look forward to working with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to preserve the federal-state partnership in enforcing the Clean Water Act."
Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03): "I’ve been fighting for the repeal of the Obama-era rule since joining Congress, and thanks to President Trump’s leadership today, Hoosier farmers need not worry the EPA will come knocking on their door wanting to regulate a puddle after a fresh rain. By permanently repealing this prime example of government overreach, our farmers can focus on growing our nation’s food."
Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02): "Since the previous Administration put the WOTUS Rule in place, I have been fighting tooth and nail to overturn it. The harmful effects it has on our farmers, ranchers, and small businesses are felt nationwide. Moreover, the WOTUS Rule allowed Washington bureaucrats to regulate the streams and creeks in the backyards of Oklahomans, when in reality these bureaucrats don’t know the first thing our backyards. I am grateful for this Administration for repealing this rule and delivering the long overdue relief from this unlawful water grab that our farmers and ranchers desperately need."
Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03): "The Trump Administration should be applauded for throwing the Obama-era WOTUS rule out the window. WOTUS expanded federal power by regulating every stream, creek and drainage ditch – labeling them ‘navigable waterways’ – when oftentimes these watercourses only hold water during rain events. They could hardly be considered ‘navigable!’ WOTUS was nothing more than an egregious executive overreach by President Obama in his effort to wildly expand government control through an unconstitutional power grab."
Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06): "I applaud the Trump Administration for finally repealing the harmful and overly burdensome Waters of the U.S. rule. Through the EPA’s final WOTUS rule we witnessed a classic example of bureaucratic overreach by the Obama Administration. I believe that we can be good stewards of our land and waterways without harming our nation’s farmers, manufacturers, and home builders. I am pleased to see that they are freed from this intrusive rule."
Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42): "The 2015 WOTUS rule was a clear example of federal overreach, undermining states’ traditional control of their land and water resources through an unworkable federal mandate. As numerous federal court rulings have demonstrated, WOTUS was an illegal expansion of the Clean Water Act and, as a result, created a patchwork of different federal standards across the nation. I applaud the repeal of this misguided regulation, and I look forward to the Administration finalizing a right-sized definition of waters of the United States."
Congressman Dusty Johnson (SD-At Large): "I applaud President Trump for scrapping the Obama-era WOTUS rule. For years, South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers feared fines & penalties for normal farming practices. Today’s new rule is a win for clean water and American agriculture."
Congressman James Comer (KY-01): "It's encouraging to see steps taken by the EPA and Army Corps to repeal the 2015 WOTUS Rule, continuing on President Trump's plan of deregulation, ending inconsistent regulatory patchwork and allowing for important projects to move forward. Implementing the pre-2015 Rule regulations will provide certainty to farmers and businesses who deserve a consistent and familiar regulatory framework. I look forward to the benefits repealing the 2015 Rule will have on Kentucky’s inland waterways and river industry and our farmers."
Congressman Pete Olson (TX-22): “After months of review, I am pleased to see the Trump Administration and EPA Secretary Wheeler reach the conclusion that the farmers and ranchers in TX-22 came to long ago: WOTUS is government overreach that created unnecessary and damaging consequences for agriculture and the economy. Today states’ rights and property rights retook their rightful place ahead of federal bureaucracy and burdensome regulations. My thanks to President Trump and Secretary Wheeler for delivering this victory.”
Congressman Daniel Webster (FL-11): “I applaud President Trump for his administration taking action and repealing the Waters of the United States or WOTUS rule. President Obama’s administration did not have the legal authority to implement this rule in the first place. It was an unconstitutional move by the previous administration to circumvent Congress.
“Furthermore, the rule expanded the scope of the Clean Water Act to a level of absurdity, as they sought to expand their regulatory authority over ‘navigable waters’ (rivers, great lakes) to include puddles and drainage ditches. I do not support this level of federal regulation as it is not just costly, but also practically impossible to accomplish. I’m glad the EPA is providing clarity and recognizing the state role that Congress intended within the Clean Water Act.”
Congressman Roger Marshall (KS-01): "One of President Trump’s earliest acts in office was directing the EPA to review the Obama-era WOTUS rule, which concentrated power in the hands of the federal government over farmers, developers, and landowners. The repeal of this onerous regulation is great news for Kansans and an enormous relief for farmers and ranchers across the country. This move would give states and tribes more flexibility to determine how best to manage waters within their borders. Under President Trump, the EPA has finalized over 45 deregulatory actions, saving Americans $3.7 billion in costs - yet another example of this administration cutting unnecessary regulations, delivering on President Trump’s promise to remove government red tape."
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge: “Today’s announcement to restore the pre-2015 waters of the United States rule gives regulatory stability for vital industries in the State. Despite the previous administration’s unlawful power grab, this step will provide certainty and flexibility for states to determine the management of our precious water resources.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr: “We want to commend the Administration for its commitment to review and repeal the unlawful 2015 WOTUS Rule – which unjustly commandeered the state’s role as primary regulators of land and water resources. Repealing the 2015 Rule will provide relief for homeowners, farmers and other landowners all across the nation.”
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry: "The previous Administration took WOTUS well-beyond Congressional intent to the outer limits of federal authority - giving itself power over dry channels, roadside ditches, and isolated streams. This job-killing Washington power grab was a far cry from the cooperative system outlined in the Clean Water Act, and it threatened land owners and local governments with endless red tape and prohibitive regulatory costs. Fortunately for farmers, ranchers, and all Americans - President Trump has pulled back this federal overreach and strengthened personal liberty. The President's framework restores states' rights and protects private property - ending one more regulatory nightmare."
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox: “I applaud the Trump Administration, EPA, and Corps of Engineers for finalizing a Waters of the U.S. rule that respects the role of the states in managing land and water resources. In 2015, I and other state attorneys general led the charge in halting President Obama’s rule, which appeared to be more about grabbing power than protecting water. This time, the federal government listened to the people who will be directly impacted and crafted a proposal that makes it much easier to understand and apply the Clean Water Act in Montana.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey: “The Obama-era water rules did not give us better, cleaner water, which everyone wants. Instead, it gave unelected bureaucrats unprecedented power to change rules and regulations on a whim. The Trump Administration is working to protect the quality of our water, in addition to restoring the balance and certainty farmers and businesses need for our nation to prosper.”
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem: “Though the Obama WOTUS rule is not currently in effect in North Dakota because of the injunction my office obtained in 2015, repeal of this unlawful rule is a positive step toward ensuring our farmers and landowners are not burdened by overzealous federal regulations. It is of particular importance to North Dakota that the EPA has now formally recognized that it should not be regulating prairie potholes under federal law. State regulations are sufficient to manage water quality and farmers should not have to ask the federal government for permission to use their own land.”
National Association of Counties CEO and Executive Director Matt Chase: “The nation’s counties support clean water and common-sense environmental regulations. We balance our environmental stewardship responsibilities with our duty to keep residents safe and foster economic competitiveness. Federal regulations have significant impacts on counties, sometimes overreaching and hindering our ability to fulfill our mandated responsibilities. We appreciate the administration’s efforts to clarify the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ definition. Over the years, an unclear definition has resulted in confusion, inconsistencies and costs, inhibiting essential infrastructure upgrades and causing delays, unnecessary red tape and lawsuits. We look forward to continuing to work with the agencies to achieve a pragmatic rule that advances clean water goals without hindering counties’ vast public safety and infrastructure responsibilities.”
Wisconsin Speaker Robin Vos (President of NCSL): “I applaud the Trump Administration for taking the first step toward reversing this clear federal overreach. The states deserve to have jurisdiction over their own water resources.”
Jefferson County, Colorado Commissioner Libby Szabo: “Regulations need to be consistent so that the entities like farmers, landowners and homebuilders who work with them can have certainty in their responsibly to comply. This is a move in the right direction for the EPA in making sure that the Clean Water Act is known and fair.”
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Executive Director Toby Baker:“TCEQ supports the decision to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States rule. The rule expanded coverage of the Clean Water Act in a haphazard and unsupported manner increasing regulatory uncertainty. The revised rule proposed earlier this year provides the appropriate level of clarity and coverage.”
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller: “Today, American farmers and ranchers are able to celebrate another triumph. I commend the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking action to repeal the onerous 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. We are one step closer to providing regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers.
"Thank you to President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for continuing to strive for success and working hard to keep American agriculture at the forefront. American farmers and ranchers provide the fuel, fiber, and food to sustain the world. Being an ag producer is tough enough, dealing with bureaucratic red tape like WOTUS was just more than they can bear. Thankfully, by today’s announcement, this burden has been lifted from them.
“There is more work to be done, but this a huge step in the right direction. Repealing WOTUS means one less lawsuit Texas might have to pursue. I look forward continued progress and what the future will hold for American agriculture.”
National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons: “America is now one step closer to smart and balanced regulation that protects our nation’s precious water resources. Courts already declared the 2015 rule illegal, following years of litigation that included a 9-0 victory for the NAM at the Supreme Court, so manufacturers are pleased to see it officially struck from the books. The old water rule, which sought to regulate dry land, was confusing and counterproductive. Manufacturers are committed to environmental stewardship, so now we look forward to a new, more effective rule to protect clean water.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “Farmers and ranchers share the goal of ensuring clean water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable. It made conservation more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers.
“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious. We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land. Farm Bureau’s multi-year effort to raise awareness of overreaching provisions was powered by thousands of our members who joined with an array of allies to achieve this victory for clear rules to ensure clean water.”
Marty Durbin, President of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute: “For decades, America has been making tremendous progress to improve water quality. The 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule significantly expanded the definition of waters, creating great uncertainty for states, local governments, businesses and farmers. In addition, legal challenges have now led to an unworkable patchwork of federal regulations that vary from state to state. Today’s action to restore one national definition provides certainty for stakeholders and ensures that we can build upon existing standards to improve water quality. We look forward to working with the Administration to do just that.”
Greg Ugalde, Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders: “NAHB commends the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for repealing the 2015 WOTUS rule that vastly expanded federal overreach over water and land use by regulating man-made ditches and isolated ponds on private property. By repealing the 2015 rule, the EPA and Corps have finally provided consistency among all 50 states, which will make the federal permitting process more predictable and affordable. Now, the agencies need to finalize a new definition that restores common sense to the regulatory process by respecting states’ rights and balancing economic and environmental concerns.”
National Pork Producers Council President David Herring: "We're pleased the EPA is moving towards a common sense WOTUS rule that works with—not against—farmers to protect our nation's waterways. The previous WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands. Today's action will remove the threat that the 2015 WOTUS rule posed for our ability to efficiently grow the amount of food needed by people around the globe, while providing regulatory certainty to our farmers and businesses. We look forward to working with this administration to finally implement a new WOTUS rule."
National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn:“Today’s repeal turns the page on a deeply problematic regulation that exemplified the last administration’s federal overreach. The 2015 rule unlawfully expanded the scope of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction and, contrary to its intended purpose, added significant confusion to the question of which waters are federally regulated and which are protected by the states.
“We look forward to working with this administration as it takes the next step of finalizing the WOTUS replacement rule. The administration’s proposed definition strikes the appropriate balance between state and federal authority over waterways and reduces the uncertainty that has plagued Clean Water Act implementation for decades.”
American Forest & Paper Association President and CEO Donna Harman: “Paper and wood products manufacturers welcome EPA’s move to provide certainty around the implementation of Clean Water Act regulations across the United States. Stakeholders, including forest products manufacturers and state and local governments, deserve clarity as they work to ensure our nation’s waters are clean. As one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation with a successful record of implementing sustainable manufacturing principles, we consider EPA’s action a step in the right direction for the environment, economic growth and job creation.”
Edison Electric Institute (EEI) President Tom Kuhn: “The 2015 WOTUS rule was so broadly written that it created substantial confusion and regulatory uncertainty, which caused customer costs to increase due to new operating requirements and delays for critical infrastructure projects.
"EEI applauds EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for repealing the rule, which multiple courts already had found to be unlawful.
"Today’s repeal is a key step toward providing long-overdue clarity for EEI’s member companies, which are making substantial investments to make the energy grid stronger, smarter, cleaner, more dynamic, and more secure for all customers. We look forward to working with EPA, the Army Corps, states, and other stakeholders as the agencies move forward with their efforts to finalize a new, clear WOTUS definition that will protect the integrity of our nation’s waters while offering more regulatory certainty for energy infrastructure permitting."
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson: The 2015 rule would have increased costs and regulatory hurdles for electric co-ops to build and maintain critical infrastructure without providing meaningful environmental benefits. We support repeal of the rule and its eventual replacement with sensible regulation that provides clarity and recognizes the important role of states in managing our water resources.
"Today’s announcement will help electric co-ops carry out important maintenance activities while also building new energy infrastructure as needed.
"Two courts have remanded the 2015 WOTUS rule back to the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on both substantive and procedural grounds. Repealing the rule eliminates the current patchwork of standards governing jurisdictional waters resulting from stays of the 2015 rule in more than half the states as the agencies act to correct those flaws.”
Stephen E. Sandherr, Chief Executive Officer of the Associated General Contractors of America: “The administration’s decision to withdraw the deeply flawed Waters of the U.S. rule will provide much-needed clarity for communities and officials who are working to advance vital new infrastructure, development and remediation projects across the country. We are eager to work with the administration as it crafts a replacement rule that will provide the kind of certainty and common sense that the earlier measure lacked while continuing to protect water quality.”
Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment Myron Ebell:“Final repeal of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is great news for rural Americans. Many fewer farmers and land owners will be kept up at night worrying that their land will be commandeered by the federal government.
“However, getting rid of this massive Obama-era land grab is only the first step. Federal jurisdiction of wetlands under the Clean Water Act was already out of control before the Obama Administration took office. We look forward to the EPA’s next rule, which we hope will reform federal jurisdiction of wetlands in accordance with both federal laws and the Constitution.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston: “The 2015 WOTUS rule was an illegal effort by the federal government to assert control over both land and water, significantly impacting our ability to implement vital conservation practices.
“After years spent fighting the 2015 WOTUS Rule in the halls of Congress, in the Courts, and at the EPA, cattle producers will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that the nightmare is over,” she said. “Thanks to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for their commitment to farmers and ranchers and restoring the rule of law. NCBA looks forward to the finalization of a practical Waters of the United States definition that will protect our water resource while allowing cattle producers to do their jobs effectively.”
National Cotton Council Chairman Mike Tate: “EPA’s decision ends the uncertainty caused by the WOTUS rule and the resulting, sometimes conflicting, court verdicts that led to a patchwork of regulations nationwide.”
The Waters Advocacy Coalition: "The Waters Advocacy Coalition, a broad coalition of organizations advocating for clean water and clear rules, thanks EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for repealing the problematic 2015 WOTUS rule. The group also is encouraging the administration to finalize a new rule that protects the nation’s waters and provides clear rules for states, farmers, ranchers and small businesses to follow."
National Corn Growers Association: "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its final rule to repeal the harmful 2015 definition of "waters of the United States. NGA will be reviewing the repeal rule and is encouraged that we are one step closer to ensuring farmers have the clarity and certainty they have long-sought to effectively implement stewardship practices on their operations."
National Milk Producers Association: "The National Milk Producers Federation applauds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to repeal the controversial 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. This decision eases regulatory burdens and aims to provide greater clarity for farmers in the future."
Karen Harned, Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center: “The Obama era rule was shocking in its scope and breadth because it asserted federal reach over dry lands and lands that were only occasionally wet. Today’s rule means that EPA and Army Corps will take a more reasoned approach to Clean Water Act regulation, consistent with historic practice—which means small business landowners can breathe a little easier. That said, we are still calling on the Administration to go further, and to bring clarity for the regulated community by drawing common sense and easy to understand lines for delineating federally regulated waters.”
Dallas Builders Association President Matt Robinson: “The Dallas Builders Association believes that everyone deserves a roof over their head and an affordable place to live. And we will continue our advocacy with that in mind,” “We appreciate that this Administration is also showing the same commitment."
David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President:“Farmers share the goal of protecting the nation’s water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable. It made protecting water quality and conservation efforts more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers, especially when what waters would be regulated under the old rule could not be clearly defined. This turned farming into a guessing game on which land use required federal permits and what did not. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the EPA’s diligent effort to repeal and clarify the WOTUS rule to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.”
Ken Pokalsky, Vice President of the Business Council of New York State: “The previous rule expanded regulation beyond the jurisdictional limits that Congress envisioned under the Clean Water Act. This revised rule will end a great deal of uncertainty, will provide much-needed clarity, and will return the regulatory focus that the manufacturers, farmers, and taxpayers of this state and country rightly desire.”
Mike Elmendorf, President & CEO of Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGC NYS): “AGC NYS believes that the federal government should not assert control over waters that have historically been under the sole jurisdiction of the states. An expanded federal permitting process would slow economic growth by increasing the cost of, and delaying, necessary improvements to public and private infrastructure.”
Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director: “This repeal closes the books on what could’ve been one of the greatest displays of federal overreach in recent history. While it’s important to maintain clean water, the 2015 WOTUS rule contradicts how we approach conservation in Indiana, which is to support and encourage the voluntary efforts of landowners.”
Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar: “This is welcome news for Hoosier companies. Indiana Chamber members and others in the business community were adamant about the detrimental effects of this rule. There was no need for the federal government to greatly expand its authority over water. The case-by-case determination that resulted from WOTUS created significant uncertainty for the regulated community, which is the last thing needed.”
Indiana Coal Council President Bruce Stevens:“The Indiana Coal Council applauds today’s announcement of repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States rule. We look forward to a practical and common-sense approach to regulating the nation’s waters through a reasonable and definitive regulatory process which will in turn provide certainty and permit timeliness.”
Indiana Builders Association CEO Rick Wajda:“Because of today’s action, landowners that were subject to the 2015 rule will no longer require federal wetland permits automatically for activities located within arbitrary distances of other regulated waters or that disturb short-lived streams or man-made ditches.”
Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Bruno Pigott:“The actions taken today will provide needed certainty for state agencies, businesses and residents. We particularly commend the effort EPA and Army Corps is making to engage the states, as co-regulators, in the development of a revised definition of WOTUS.”
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr: “As we noted in our comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2014, the 'Waters of the United States' rule would have significantly expanded federal jurisdiction to waters already being sufficiently protected by Pennsylvania’s water quality rules. This would have resulted in not only saddling businesses with additional confusion over what requirements apply, but the potential for significant civil penalties stemming from that lack of clarity. That rule would have cost the United States’ economic gain for the sake of negligible environmental benefits. We are pleased to see the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers move forward with a rulemaking process that incorporates the concerns, goals and shared priorities of all stakeholders. It is our hope that this process will result in the development of a durable, workable rule that provides certainty to industry and protection to the environment.”