Hoeven: We're Positioned to Rescind WOTUS Permanently

Senators, House Members File Amicus Brief in States’ Suit to Repeal EPA’s Waters of the U.S. Rule

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said that with a new Congress and administration, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule can now be rescinded permanently. Hoeven said there are at least three viable paths to repealing the rule for good:

• The new Congress could rescind it legislatively next year.
• The new administration could work through the rule-making process to rescind it.
• The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is now considering the legality of the rule, could strike it down. If the new administration does not appeal the decision, which is likely, the case won’t go to the Supreme Court and the rule would be invalidated.

“WOTUS has posed a real problem for job creators across our nation, including our farmers and ranchers, and we are now in a strong position to repeal the rule permanently,” said Hoeven, who worked in his role on the Appropriations Committee to prohibit the EPA from implementing the rule in 2016 and 2017. “We have worked successfully in the Senate to prevent the WOTUS rule from being implemented year to year, but now we have several paths we can pursue to eliminate it completely.”

To help inform the Sixth Circuit Court on the WOTUS case, the senator and a group of Senate and House members have filed an amicus brief in in support of petitions for review filed by 31 states and 57 municipal and industry petitioners seeking to overturn the WOTUS Rule. An amicus brief, or “friend of the court” brief, can be filed in order to address concerns and advise the Court on a matter of law that directly affects the case at hand.

The bicameral amicus brief recently filed states, in part:

“’As Senators and Representatives duly elected to serve in the Congress of the United States in which ‘all legislative Powers’ granted by the Constitution are vested, the members state that:

“’With this new rulemaking, the Agencies are encroaching on traditional state authorities over land use and water quantity (as opposed to water quality). Congress, not federal agencies, has the sole and exclusive right to make law. The Executive Branch, for its part, must ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.’ U.S. Const. art. II, sec. 3 (emphasis added). The Agencies have failed to carry out that responsibility. Accordingly, this Court should reject the Agencies’ attempt to alter the federal-state framework of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and vacate the WOTUS rule.’”