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Chairman Roberts Pleased with EPA’s Continued Progress on WOTUS Rule Rollback

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today made the following statement after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the formal rollback the burdensome, Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The WOTUS replacement rule is expected early 2020.

“I’m glad to see EPA Administrator Wheeler continuing to alleviate regulatory burdens that farmers, ranchers, and landowners faced under the outrageous 2015 WOTUS rule,” said Roberts. “This Administration has gone about this regulatory process the correct way – by listening to stakeholders. I look forward to reviewing the WOTUS replacement rule within the coming months.”

The WOTUS rule was originally developed by the Obama Administration’s EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The rule greatly expanded the EPA’s federal jurisdiction and scope of waterbodies subject to Clean Water Act requirements. 

In January 2018, 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. 

Chairman Roberts has long been a stern opponent of Obama-era burdensome regulations. Last year, Chairman Roberts joined then Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler to unveil the WOTUS replacement rule. Shortly after taking the gavel of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Roberts held a hearing on the WOTUS rule and cosponsored bipartisan legislation to repeal the rule.