Hoeven Statement on EPA Repeal of WOTUS Rule

Action Restores Pre-2015 Regulations, Follows Senator’s Efforts to Prevent Rule’s Implementation

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today issued the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a proposal to repeal the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The action removes the patchwork of regulations that have been in place due to litigation against the WOTUS rule, which was only in effect for 22 states and the District of Columbia. 

This will restore the pre-2015 regulations for all states while the EPA works to finalize a replacement for WOTUS, which Hoeven helped announce last year. Today’s announcement aligns with Hoeven’s efforts as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to defund the rule in 2016 and 2017 and prevent its implementation.

The WOTUS rule reached far beyond the EPA and Army Corps’ authority and threatened severe impacts for farmers, ranchers, energy producers and a wide variety of other industries” said Hoeven. “That’s why we worked to prevent its implementation and have helped advance the administration’s efforts to repeal the rule and replace it with regulations that respect states’ rights and achieve better environmental stewardship without undermining the economy.”

The EPA’s proposed replacement for WOTUS recognizes the primary role of states and tribes in managing water resources within their borders and will help ensure the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers do not exceed the authority granted by Congress under the Clean Water Act. This is the second of two steps established by the executive order the President signed in 2017 to rescind or revise the Obama-era regulation. Specifically, the proposal would:

  • Cover only those waters that are physically and meaningfully connected to traditional navigable waters.
  • Not apply to short-lived water features that result from rainfall or to wetlands physically separated from navigable waters by, for example, a berm, levee or upland.
  • Not include most farm and roadside ditches.