Press Releases

Graves & Rouzer Critical of Administration’s Move Toward Obama-Era Water Restrictions

Washington, D.C., December 30, 2022 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member David Rouzer (R-NC) today criticized the Administration for moving forward with their rulemaking process, in the face of a pending Supreme Court ruling, and reinstate strict and cumbersome regulations over waters and water use decisions throughout the United States.

The Administration’s final rule redefining “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) moves the federal government closer toward the tighter regulation of businesses, farmers, infrastructure builders, communities, and private citizens.  The Administration announced its rulemaking despite the fact that the Supreme Court is scheduled to decide a case (Sackett) in the coming months that will bear directly on any WOTUS-related rules or regulations.

“Our economy continues to struggle with the economic crises brought about by the disastrous economic policies of this Administration, and it makes absolutely no sense to move the country back towards the costly and burdensome WOTUS regulations of the past,” Graves said.  “It’s particularly foolish to do this now and waste federal resources when the Supreme Court has yet to rule on the issue – a ruling that will impact and alter what the Administration is hastily putting forward.”

“Today’s announcement by the Biden Administration on their new rule for Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) is disappointing.  This rule is both poor policy and badly timed.  It is another example of this Administration’s determined adherence to the demands of environmentalists at the expense of hard-working Americans.  While cloaked a little differently, this new WOTUS rule will once again place overly burdensome regulations on our farm families, small businesses, and entire communities further harming our economy — not to mention making critical infrastructure projects that much more expensive,” Rouzer said.  “While I appreciate the EPA’s acknowledgement that the Supreme Court has already heard arguments in Sackett v. EPA with a ruling soon expected, this further underscores how ill-advised it is for the Administration to rush a new rule given the Court’s forthcoming decision will impact any new definition of WOTUS.” 

Background information

On June 25, 2021, Graves, Rouzer, and Republican leaders highlighted concerns with the Administration’s plans to undo the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. 

On August 25, 2021, Graves and Rouzer urged the Agencies to extend the timeframe for public comments and stakeholder input on a new WOTUS rulemaking. 

On October 26, 2021, Graves and Rouzer issued these statements regarding the Administration’s rushed roundtable process.

On January 20, 2022, Graves and Rouzer requested more time to allow adequate public comment on the WOTUS rulemaking.

On January 24, 2022, Graves and Rouzer first called for a halt to the Agencies’ rulemaking,based on the Supreme Court’s decision to take up the Sackett case.

On March 8, 2022, Graves, Rouzer, and over 200 House Republicans renewed calls for the Administration to drop its plan to expand the scope of WOTUS and allow the Supreme Court to take up its case.

On April 18, 2022, Graves, Rouzer, and Senator Shelley Moore Capito led 201 Republican Members and Senators in filing an amici curiae brief in support of the petitioners in the case Sackett case.

On April 28, 2022, Graves and Rouzer asked the Administration for more transparency about the formation, intent, and execution of stakeholder WOTUS roundtables.

On September 20, 2022, Graves and Rouzer raised concerns about actions by EPA and Army Corps of Engineers which would expand the breadth of their regulatory authority and warned the agencies to stay within the bounds of their authority as granted by Congress.

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