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U.S. National Debt:

Crapo, Risch Succeed in Challenging Biden WOTUS Rule

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch’s (both R-Idaho) Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution passed the Senate today.  The CRA challenged the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which grossly expands federal regulatory authority over water.

“The passing of this CRA shows there is bipartisan support to halt the Biden Administration’s effort to trample on states’ water rights,” said Crapo.  “Water quality management policies are best decided by state and local on-the-ground experts—including farmers, ranchers and water users.  Idaho’s congressional delegation continues to fight to protect Idaho water sovereignty.”

“Today’s vote is a decisive and bipartisan movement away from big government.  Idaho has been managing water longer than we’ve been a state, and we do not need federal bureaucrats telling us how to do so.  The Biden administration’s proposed navigable waters rule would have a crippling effect on Idaho’s farmers, ranchers, and landowners, and I will continue fighting until I see it scrapped entirely,” said Risch.  

With the bipartisan passage of the CRA in both the House and the Senate, the rule cannot be implemented unless both Chambers vote successfully to implement it.

Full text of the resolution can be found here.

A one-pager can be found here.

BACKGROUND: In 2015, the Obama administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of WOTUS, creating confusion and burdensome red tape for Idaho’s agriculture industry.

The Trump administration released a proposed rule to replace the 2015 WOTUS rule with a new one that provided much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers by establishing clear and reasonable definitions of what qualifies as a “water of the United States.”  The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule was finalized in 2020.

On day one of his administration, President Biden signed an executive order to begin the process of rolling back the Trump administration’s NWPR.

In December 2022, the Biden EPA issued a new rule repealing the Trump administration’s NWPR and changing the definition of WOTUS in a way that will expand federal regulatory authority.