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WOTUS Override Falls Short

The House of Representatives on Tuesday fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to overturn the Biden administration’s proscriptive “waters of the United States” rule, The Hill reports.

What’s going on: “[T]he rule, which delineates which waters are subject to federal protections, is still not in effect for a significant portion of the country. The vote comes after a pair of court decisions temporarily blocked its implementation in 26 states as court challenges on the issue play out.”

  • Earlier this month, Republicans in the House and Senate used the Congressional Review Act in an attempt to block the Biden WOTUS rule. The blocking measure passed both chambers of Congress but was vetoed by the president.
  • Republicans promised to push for a veto override.

Why it’s important: The administration has said its rule provides needed clarity, but in practice, it would do the opposite, as the NAM has long argued.

  • “The EPA is unnecessarily rewriting critical permitting standards and tossing aside Supreme Court precedent in the process,” NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse said following the new regulation’s release last December. “This moving  target frustrates efforts to expand domestic manufacturing and create well-paying jobs. Manufacturers cannot invest with confidence when the rules keep changing.”
  • The NAM and congressional leaders have urged the Biden administration to await the Supreme Court’s ruling on the landmark Sackett v. EPA before releasing a new WOTUS rule.

What’s next: A decision in that case—brought by an Idaho couple prohibited from building a house on their property because the EPA designated part of the acreage as wetlands—is expected this year. It will determine whether wetlands and other waters come under the EPA’s jurisdiction.

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