Press Releases

Boozman, Capito Lead Republican Senators in Fight Against Biden WOTUS Rule

Senators Announce Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval to Block Overreaching Water Regulation

Feb 03 2023

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) today led their Senate Republican colleagues in introducing a formal challenge to the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval.

The resolution comes after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a new rule in December 2022 repealing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) and changing the definition of Waters of the United States in a way that will expand federal regulatory authority. 

“Arkansans want clean and safe water, but they don’t need the federal government to seize control of every pond, puddle and ditch in our state in the name of protecting the environment. By withdrawing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and attempting to return to the burdensome, far-reaching WOTUS rule, the Biden administration is seeking to do exactly that,” Boozman said. “My colleagues and I are united in our commitment to stop it and stand up for farmers, ranchers, private landowners and future opportunities that this rule would trample.”

“With its overreaching navigable waters rule, the Biden administration upended regulatory certainty and placed unnecessary burdens directly on millions of Americans,” Capito said. “This Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval will give every member of Congress the chance to stand with farmers, ranchers, landowners, and builders, and protect future transportation, infrastructure, and energy projects of all kinds in their states. I appreciate the widespread support we’ve received in both the Senate and House, and across the country, as we fight to place an important check on this misguided overreach from the Biden administration.”

The CRA provides Congress an expedited mechanism to overturn certain federal agency regulations and actions through a joint resolution of disapproval. A joint resolution of disapproval under the CRA is afforded special procedures, bypassing normal Senate rules and allowing for a vote on the Senate floor. If a CRA joint resolution of disapproval is approved by a simple majority in both houses of Congress and signed by the President—or if Congress successfully overrides a presidential veto—the rule is invalidated.

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO-06), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, simultaneously led his colleagues in introducing an identical resolution in the House.

Senate cosponsors of the resolution include Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sens. John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Katie Britt (R-AL), Ted Budd (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John Kennedy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Rick Scott (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tommy Tuberville (R-AK), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Todd Young (R-IN).

Full text of the resolution can be found here.

A one-pager can be found here

Boozman has been a long-time advocate for a commonsense rule to protect water without eroding the rights of landowners. In 2015, he voted to prevent implementation of the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule. In 2021, Boozman helped introduce legislation to protect Arkansas famers, small businesses and property owners by codifying the 2020 NWPR. Last year, he joined Senate Republicans in urging the EPA and USACE to halt rulemaking until the U.S. Supreme Court completes its consideration of Sackett v. EPA, a case expected to have major implications on the Clean Water Act’s scope and enforcement.