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Chairman Roberts Joins EPA’s Wheeler to Unveil Reworked WOTUS Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A stern opponent of Obama-era burdensome regulations, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today joined U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler in unveiling the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) replacement rule.

“I thank President Trump and the EPA for putting a priority on revising the WOTUS rule to be workable for farmers, ranchers, and landowners,” said Chairman Roberts. “This revised rule scales back the previously affected areas, which represented a huge regulatory overstep by the Obama administration. Farmers and ranchers can spend more time growing and raising food – instead of sifting through mounds of regulatory red tape.”

The WOTUS rule was originally developed by the Obama Administration’s EPA and the Corps. It greatly expanded the EPA’s federal jurisdiction and scope of waterbodies subject to Clean Water Act requirements. In January, EPA postponed the applicability date of the WOTUS rule by two years, which gave the agency time to listen to stakeholders and develop an improved rule. In June 2017, the EPA and the Corps began a replacement rulemaking process to gather input and re-evaluate the definition of WOTUS. In February 2017, with Chairman Roberts in attendance, President Trump signed an executive order providing relief from the WOTUS rule. Today’s announcement provides certainty and clarity to farmers and ranchers about when Clean Water Act requirements are applicable – and more important, when they are not. 

Chairman Roberts held a hearing on the WOTUS rule in the Senate Agriculture Committee and cosponsored bipartisan legislation to repeal the rule in the 114th Congress.