Industry Leaders Back Legislation to Reverse Biden WOTUS Rule

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer (R-NC), and more than 150 Members of Congress have sponsored a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on the Biden Administration’s flawed and burdensome “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule (H.J. Res. 27). 

An identical measure was also introduced in the Senate by 49 senators, led by Environment and Public Works Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  Numerous industry leaders and stakeholders have issued statements of support for the effort to overturn this rule, which will lead to sweeping changes to the federal government’s authority to regulate what is considered a navigable water, with enormous impacts on small businesses, manufacturers, farmers, home and infrastructure builders, local communities, water districts, and private property owners.

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American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA)

“The American Pipeline Contractors Association is grateful for the introduction of this Congressional Review Act resolution and urges Congress to come together and swiftly overturn the new burdensome and unnecessary WOTUS regulations.  There is widespread understanding in Washington that permitting reforms and regulatory overhaul are necessary to meet infrastructure goals and unlock the full potential of American energy, but this decision from the administration directly contradicts those goals.  APCA urges the Biden administration to roll back this regulation as soon as possible and to instead work with Congress to undertake meaningful action toward reforming pipeline and general construction permitting processes.”

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

Kristen Swearingen, vice president of legislative and political affairs: “ABC supports Chairmen Graves and Rouzer’s joint resolution and applauds their leadership to resolve the uncertainty surrounding the scope of federal authority under the Clean Water Act, which has resulted in litigation and regulatory confusion in the business community. Further, ABC calls on Congress to codify the ABC-supported Navigable Waters Protection Rule’s definition of WOTUS under the Clean Water Act. For decades, ABC has supported the EPA and the Corps maintaining a clear and concise definition of WOTUS, which was implemented in the 2020 NWPR final rule so that our members had the information they need to comply with the law while also serving as good stewards of the environment.”

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Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)

Jimmy Christianson, vice president of government relations: “Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Shelley Capito and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves are right to express disapproval with the administration’s overreach and expansion of the waters of the United States regulatory program.  AGC is disappointed that the agencies rushed through the sixth change in the requirements, in almost as many years, just as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to decide on a related case.  Employers try in good faith to keep pace with ever-shifting requirements that carry criminal as well as civil penalties for noncompliance.”

Distribution Contractors Association (DCA)

Rob Darden, executive vice president: “DCA strongly supports this joint resolution along with other legislation that would overturn the Biden Administration’s WOTUS rule issued last month.  Federal policy that expands permitting requirements on ditches and other areas that clearly do not equate to navigable waters will unnecessary delay or ultimately reject needed construction projects and create hardships for construction entities trying to comply with unclear and ever-changing requirements at a time when rebuilding America’s infrastructure is supposed to be a national priority.”

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Energy Marketers of America (EMA)

Rob Underwood, president: “The Energy Marketers of America (EMA) recognize the enormous impacts the Biden Administration’s ‘Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) rule will place on small business energy marketers.  In large part, WOTUS will determine whether costly land use restrictions will be imposed on new building or expansion projects such as adding renewable liquid fuel pumps and/or electric charging stations.  EMA supports the joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on the Biden Administration’s WOTUS rule.”

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

“The EPA is unnecessarily rewriting critical permitting standards and tossing aside Supreme Court precedent in the process.  This moving target frustrates efforts to expand domestic manufacturing and create well-paying jobs.  Manufacturers cannot invest with confidence when the rules keep changing.  Manufacturers need a sensible WOTUS proposal that provides permitting certainty and allows the industry to continue leading on environmental stewardship.”

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National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)

Kevin Kuhlman, vice president of federal government relations: “America’s farmers, ranchers, developers, contractors, and other small businesses have been greatly affected by the ongoing changes to WOTUS standards.  This overreaching final rule increases compliance burdens and uncertainty for small businesses as they wait to hear from the Supreme Court.  Your leadership to repeal this burdensome rule is crucial for small businesses across America and we look forward to working with you to reduce the regulatory and compliance burdens faced by small businesses.”

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Louis Finkel, senior vice president of government relations: “EPA’s final rule expands the reach of WOTUS and creates substantial regulatory uncertainty for electric co-ops. It will further complicate and slow permitting for electric infrastructure projects, which are vital for ensuring energy affordability and reliability for American families and businesses. We thank Ranking Member Capito and Chairman Graves for their leadership and for taking this important step that will help electric co-ops reliably keep the lights on at a cost that consumers can afford.”

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National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA)

Doug Carlson, CEO: “Utility construction projects need predictability to make project deadlines and contain costs.  The Biden Administration’s repeal of the Trump Administration’s clean-up of the WOTUS rules is going to add unnecessary confusion and delays to this industry’s projects.  Contractors will now be faced with more uncertainty when trying to comply with the new WOTUS rules, an outcome that will face even more confusion with a pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling on these regulations.

“The Biden Administration’s regulatory change was not needed, not at this time with so many infrastructure projects starting this year.  NUCA strongly supports T&I Chairman Sam Graves and subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer’s resolution of disapproval to rescind this WOTUS rule change.”

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Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI)

David Fink, president: “The WOTUS debate has presented extensive and enduring challenges for the construction and manufacturing industries since it began many years ago.  The latest version of this rule issued by EPA last month presents another moving target when it comes to compliance and will inevitably impede efforts to expand domestic manufacturing and create well-paying jobs.  While the rule provides a list of exemptions, it discards the scores of stakeholders who have long sought clarification on this issue, especially regarding the debate over what is and is not a navigable water.”

Power and Communication Contractors Association (PCCA)

“The Power and Communication Contractors Association strongly supports the Congressional Review Act resolution introduced by Chairman Graves and Rep Rouzer, which would overturn the Biden administration’s ill-advised changes to WOTUS.  PCCA members across the country are working tirelessly to expand access to high-speed broadband, modernize and strengthen our nation’s electric grid, and provide the essential workforce for these and many other critical infrastructure projects.  However, burdensome federal regulations and policies have slowed work and jeopardize the goals set by the Biden administration to achieve universal access to broadband and a modern electric grid within the next decade.  Instead of critical permitting reforms and similar regulatory updates, this decision rolls back positive changes made during the last administration.  We commend the action Congress is taking to reverse this decision and urge the administration to work with Congress to develop a better standard that meets the needs of all Americans.”

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce commends Chairman Graves, Chairman Rouzer, and the many other Members of Congress for their leadership in proposing a Congressional Review Act resolution for the Biden Administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule.  America needs clear, less burdensome water policy so that we can permit and build for the future.  We urge Congress to pass this important legislation in short order to ensure the immediate elimination of the Administration’s unnecessary, confusing, and legally problematic federal regulatory expansion, and to provide the certainty that businesses, landowners, and state and local governments need.”

SOURCE – Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

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