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Senate Fails to Block EPA Expansion of Federal Waterway Jurisdiction

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Last week, the Senate failed by a vote of 57-41 to pass a bill repealing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Waters of the US rule, also referred to as WOTUS. The WOTUS rule significantly expands the EPA’s jurisdiction over waterways and has continually faced fierce opposition from farmers, ranchers, stakeholders and numerous states since it was first introduced last year. The bill, S 1140, titled the Federal Water Quality Protection Act was introduced by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and would force the EPA to rewrite the entire rule and work with stakeholders on drafting a new rule. The following day, the Senate continued its work to block the rule and voted (53-44) to pass a disapproval resolution, SJ Res 22, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

It is highly unlikely, however, that Congress will ultimately be able to block the WOTUS rule using the CRA since it will need a two-thirds majority to override a Presidential veto. Due to a recent stay issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, implementation of the WOTUS rule has been delayed for all 50 states.

For more information, contact Jill Landry at

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