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Miller-Meeks Introduces Resolution to Uphold Navigable Waters Protection Rule

April 14, 2021


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, April 14th, 2021, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02)  introduced a resolution to uphold the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) into law. This resolution would express the sense of the House that clean water is a national priority and that the April 21st, 2020, NWPR should not be withdrawn or vacated.

A Senate companion to this resolution was introduced by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) in January and currently has 27 cosponsors.

The 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule significantly expanded the definition of WOTUS and gave the federal government authority to regulate almost any waters; including streams, ditches, ponds, and creeks. The NWPR revised the definition of WOTUS and reversed this overreach, bringing back a balance between federal and state jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

“Under the WOTUS Rule, the federal government would have authority to regulate water on 97 percent of the land in Iowa. This left farmers, ranchers, landowners, and businesses to face confusion and burdensome restrictions on how to use their property,” said Miller-Meeks. “The NWPR is much more workable and keeps our water and land clean without destroying businesses in the process. I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect our environment while also supporting our farmers and ranchers.”

“When the Obama-Biden administration attempted to regulate nearly 97% of the land in Iowa with their WOTUS rule, I fought back and stood up for the livelihoods of hardworking Iowans. We won that fight; a new, more flexible WOTUS rule was put in place. Now, the Biden Administration is working at a rapid pace to undo this work,” said Senator Ernst, Republican Leader of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy. “I’m thrilled to see my fellow Iowan, Rep. Miller-Meeks, take up this fight in the House. Together, we’re pushing back on yet another attempted Washington power grab that would only make it harder for Iowans to farm, ranch, and build.”

“Clean water is a national priority, and I’m proud to join Rep. Miller-Meeks in supporting the protection of our water sources throughout the United States,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Chair of the Congressional Western Caucus. “The Western Caucus knows local communities are capable of making land use and water decisions far better than a bureaucrat thousands of miles away. Clean water protections are not contrary to economic development, and these efforts don’t have to punish those who live, work, and play throughout rural America. We are committed to maintaining the Navigable Waters Protection Rule because we know that rural communities are dedicated to clean water, and we will continue to lead the way.”

“In a time of deep partisanship, clean water should be an obvious policy area where lawmakers can collaborate. It is crucial to the lifeblood of our country, and ensuring its accessibility is critical to protecting American families. I applaud Representative Miller-Meeks, who in her few months as a Member of Congress, is ensuring the Biden Administration does not distort the Clean Water Act to expand federal regulations on American landowners,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), House Republican Leader. “We can protect our nation’s waterways without burdensome regulations that make it impossible to farm our land or build new infrastructure. Representing a district in the State of California where drought is practically an annual occurrence, I know firsthand that we must not take access to uninterrupted water for granted, and I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting this resolution today.”

“I applaud Rep. Miller-Meeks for introducing this resolution in support of the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which rejected the Obama-era rule that would have expanded federal regulation over nearly all waters, including rivers, lakes, streams, and ditches,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (LA-01), House Republican Whip. “Reverting back to terrible policies such as the ‘Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) rule would be an extreme federal overreach and would significantly harm small businesses and cripple our country’s economic recovery. With our economy on the mend, the Biden Administration should not be considering unnecessary and overly burdensome government regulations.”

“I’m proud to support this resolution and would urge the Biden Administration to uphold the Navigable Waters Protection rule. Unlike the flawed, overreaching mandates put in place by the Obama Administration, this rule provides a clear and consistent definition of navigable waters while ensuring clean water,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (WY-00), House Republican Conference Chair. “Withdrawing this rule and returning to the broken days of WOTUS would represent a blatant, unconstitutional power grab aimed at taking federal control over states in a way that threatens the rights of farmers, ranchers, and all other landowners in Wyoming.”

“The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is one of the most burdensome EPA rules in recent memory. It basically proposes we regulate every mud puddle in America, and it’s hurting our rural communities in Eastern Washington and all across the country,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (WA-05), Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “The impact it has on our cattlemen, our farmers, and our ranchers is devastating. This resolution supports the changes President Trump made to this rule, which would mean much-needed relief to agriculture workers all across America.”

“Clean water is a priority for all Americans and the Navigable Waters Protection Rule was designed to bring long-overdue clarity to federal law,” said Rep. GT Thompson (PA-15), Republican Leader of the Agriculture Committee. “The Biden Administration’s attempt to return to the failed WOTUS rule would once again place unnecessary burdens on farmers, ranchers, producers, and landowners. To ensure the traditional reach of the Clean Water Act and provide certainty for rural America, it is critical that the Navigable Waters Rule remains in effect nationwide.”

“As noted by two Supreme Court rulings, the overreaching Waters of the United States Rule created havoc for landowners in Arkansas and across the country,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Republican Leader of the Natural Resources Committee. “I remain staunchly in favor of maintaining the Navigable Water Protection Rule and appreciate my colleagues who understand the importance of common-sense regulation of our nation’s waters and ecosystems.”

“The American Farm Bureau Federation applauds the efforts of Representative Miller-Meeks to support the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which provides a balanced approach to protecting our nation’s waterways and wetlands while providing much needed clarity and consistency for farmers, ranchers and regulators,” said Zippy Duvall, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We look forward to working with Congress and the Biden Administration to bring an end to persistent efforts to expand federal power. The NWPR marks a return to respecting states’ traditional authority over land and water resources and avoids the sorts of difficult statutory and constitutional questions raised by prior definitions of Waters of the U.S. It is time to resolve the decades of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction and prioritizes both clean water and clear rules.”

Original Cosponsors (114): Allen, Amodei, Armstrong, Arrington, Babin, Bacon, Baird, Balderson, Banks, Bentz, Bice, Biggs, Bishop (NC), Boebert, Bost, Buck, Budd, Burgess, Calvert, Cammack, Carl, Carter (GA), Cheney, Cloud, Cole, Comer, Crawford, Curtis, Rodney Davis, DesJarlais, Duncan, Emmer, Estes, Feenstra, Ferguson, Fischbach, Fleischmann, Fulcher, Gibbs, Gonzalez Colon, Gosar, Graves (LA), Graves (MO), Grothman, Guthrie, Hagedorn, Harris, Harshbarger, Hartzler, Herrell, Herrera Beutler, Hill, Hinson, Hollingsworth, Jackson, Jacobs (NY), Johnson (LA), Johnson (OH), Johnson (SD), Keller, Kelly (MS), Kelly (PA), Kustoff, LaHood, LaMalfa, Lamborn, Lesko, Luetkemeyer, Lucas, Malliotakis, Mann, McCarthy, McClintock, McKinley, McMorris Rodgers, Moolenaar, Mooney, Moore (UT), Mullin, Newhouse, Norman, Obernolte, Owens, Perry, Pfluger, Posey, Reschenthaler, Rice (SC), Rose, Rosendale, Scalise, Austin Scott, Sessions, Schweikert, Simpson, Smith (MO), Smith (NE), Stauber, Steel, Stefanik, Stewart, Steube, Stivers, Tenney, Thompson (PA), Tiffany, Valadao, Wagner, Walberg, Webster, Westerman, Wilson (SC), Womack, and Young.

Supporting Organizations: American Farm Bureau Federation, National Association of Home Builders, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, National Cotton Council,American Exploration & Mining Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, American Gas Association, Associated General Contractors of America, USA Rice, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Minerals Association, International Diatomite Producers Association, National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association

To read the full text of the legislation, click HERE.