Hoeven: Senate Passes Resolution Repealing EPA's Waters of the U.S. Rule

House to Take Up the Resolution Soon, President Expected to Veto It

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Senate has passed a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the U.S. rule. The measure, led by Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and cosponsored by Hoeven and 48 others, passed by 53 to 44. The Congressional Review Act authorizes Congress by majority vote to repeal actions by a federal agency after a rule is formally published and submitted to Congress.

“Today, the Senate passed a Resolution of Disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Waters of the U.S. rule,” Hoeven said. “The House will now take up the measure, where I believe it will also pass. The challenge, however, will be overcoming a presidential veto. That’s why I have already included language in the Interior and EPA Appropriations bill to defund it and will continue to press for passage of that measure.”

On Tuesday, Hoeven spoke on the Senate floor to push for passage of the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, separate legislation that would rescind the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and require the EPA to start the process over with more input from stakeholders. The senator and a bipartisan group of farm-state colleagues introduced the legislation, which was led by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). The motion to bring the bill to the floor for debate and a vote fell 3 votes short of the 60 needed to pass.

In August, U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson issued an injunction blocking the EPA from implementing the WOTUS rule in North Dakota and 12 additional states that had challenged the rule. A subsequent ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court in October blocked the rule from being implemented nationwide while the courts determine its legality.

Hoeven has also been working to eliminate the Waters of the U.S. regulation through the appropriations process. The senator worked to include a provision in the 2016 Senate Interior Appropriations bill in June that prohibits the EPA from implementing the regulation.

Last year, Hoeven worked to defund the Interpretive Rule, which enabled farmers and ranchers to operate this year, as they have in the past, under the Clean Water Act’s exemption from having to get a permit before practicing normal agricultural activities like plowing, seeding and minor drainage.