Hoeven Statement on the EPA's Final Waters of the U.S. Rule

Senator Pledges to Continue Effort to Repeal EPA Overreach

WASHINGTON Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS):

“Today, the EPA issued a final waters of the U.S. rule that expands the reach of federal regulation and creates uncertainty for farmers, ranchers and other job creators. While we continue to examine the EPA’s final rule, we are further concerned that it targets certain areas including the Prairie Pothole region, Carolina and Delmarva bays, Texas coastal regions and others in its expanded definition of what is a federally-regulated water of the U.S., which threatens these region’s agriculture, construction, energy and other industries with new permitting requirements and litigation.

“Administrator McCarthy no doubt heard many of the same reasonable concerns about the rule that I did, not only from our farmers and ranchers, but also from many other job creators as well. They have been saying loud and clear that the rule would be a big problem for them. 

“We will continue our efforts to either rescind the rule through legislation or defund it through the appropriations process.”

In April, Hoeven joined a bipartisan group of farm-state colleagues to reintroduce 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 Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which is being led by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) this year, is similar to legislation Hoeven cosponsored in 2014. Hoeven will also continue to work as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to stop the rule through the appropriations process. 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.

The EPA released the proposed Waters of the U.S. regulation on April 21, 2014. It included broad new definitions of the scope of “Waters of the United States,” subjecting a countless number of small wetlands, creeks, stock ponds and ditches that are typically regulated at a state level to new federal permits, compliance costs and litigation.