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(Thursday), U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, applauded the Trump Administration for following through on its commitment to roll back the harmful Obama-era “Waters of the United States,” or “WOTUS,” rule. Since entering office, the Senator has prioritized getting this ill-conceived rule off the books.

“For years, Iowans have told me we need to get rid of the 2015 WOTUS rule—an egregious power grab by the Obama Administration that gave the federal government authority to regulate 97 percent of our land in Iowa,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “That’s why I’ve fought hard to ensure we get Washington’s hands out of Iowans’ lives by scrapping Obama’s burdensome rule. I’m thrilled to see the Trump Administration take decisive action that will remove this threat to Iowa’s farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses, and get us one step closer to providing the predictability and certainty hardworking folks across the country deserve.”

Today, the Trump Administration announced its final “Step 1” rule that officially rolls back the 2015 WOTUS rule. The final Step 1 rule will restore longstanding and familiar Clean Water Act regulations. Earlier this year, Senator Ernst introduced her own legislation, the Define WOTUS Act, which would codify a reasonable definition of WOTUS into law, clearly defining what is, and is not, a federally regulated waterway.

Senator Ernst’s Efforts to Scrap the Obama-era WOTUS Rule:

  • Introduced a resolution that expresses the need to vacate the Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule.
  • Praised the bipartisan passage in both chambers of her resolution of disapproval to eliminate the expanded definition of the WOTUS rule. The Obama administration vetoed this legislation and Senator Ernst vowed to continue looking for ways to roll back the WOTUS rule.
  • Called out the EPA’s illegal use of taxpayer dollars to rally support for the harmful WOTUS rule.
  • Spoke on the floor of the Senate to urge support for her resolution of disapproval to eliminate the expanded definition of the WOTUS rule.
  • Released a statement following a federal court ruling that suspended implementation of WOTUS.
  • Cosponsored Senator John Barrasso’s (R-WY) proposal, which provided clear principles and direction for the EPA to craft a WOTUS rule that takes into consideration positions held by key stakeholders.
  • Denounced the EPA’s finalized WOTUS rule as harmful to Iowa.
  • Introduced Iowa farmer and small business owner Darcy Maulsby to testify on the impact of WOTUS before the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, and share her personal experience with the harmful impact of EPA overregulation.
  • Invited former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to Iowa to see the potential impact of overregulation in Iowa. Administrator McCarthy never took Senator Ernst up on this offer.

Obama’s WOTUS Rule’s Impact on Iowa:

According to an analysis by the Iowa Farm Bureau, an expanded definition of WOTUS, as proposed by the Obama Administration, would have given EPA jurisdiction to over approximately 97 percent of Iowa. See map below:

A map of the Obama-era WOTUS rule’s projected impact on the EPA’s expanded jurisdiction in Iowa (Courtesy: Iowa Farm Bureau).

Author: Press Release


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