10.09.15

Chairman Roberts Applauds Appeals Court Ruling on WOTUS

Ruling Halts WOTUS Implementation Pending further Judicial Review

OVERLAND PARK, KS – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry today applauded an Appeals Court Ruling that halted implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s overreaching rule regarding the definition of “Waters of the U.S.” pending further judicial review.

“I applaud the court for halting the rule in all states to allow justice, and some might say commonsense, to play out,” Roberts said. “Due to the widespread confusion and frustration with the new regulations and pending litigation, this ruling should send a clear signal to the EPA that the rule should be scrapped altogether.

“Farmers, Ranchers and other stakeholders were ignored in the comment period during consideration of the proposed rule. The EPA stacked the deck against them. The process was flawed from the beginning and I commend the court for this finding in particular: ‘Moreover, the rulemaking process by which the distance limitations were adopted is facially suspect.’”

The Kansas Department of Agriculture estimates the finalized WOTUS rule expands EPA’s jurisdiction of Kansas water bodies considered to be new “waters of the United States,” encompassing 182,000 stream miles – a 500 percent increase.

Chairman Roberts has been an outspoken opponent of overregulation and of the WOTUS rule.  In March, the Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the WOTUS rule, which included legal interpretations, agency officials and state partners responsible for the administration and enforcement, and key stakeholders who will be forced to navigate the Clean Water Act permitting process and bear the unforeseen costs associated with this overregulation.

In April, he joined Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe R-Okla., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Dan Sullivan R-Ala. and Heidi Heitkamp D-ND introducing the bipartisan Federal Water Quality Protection Act. The legislation was reported out of the EPW Committee in June and awaits floor consideration.

The Federal Water Quality Protection Act requires EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the finalized rule, which has received considerable criticism from a variety of industries – including agriculture – and restart the full rulemaking process to develop a new rule in consultation with stakeholders, state partners and regulated entities.

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