WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after learning that the EPA is paving the way for a more expansive definition of “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS):

“The action by the Biden EPA today is a troubling sign that the administration wants to pursue significant federal overreach over water resources. Nebraskans own the water in our state and work to carefully protect this precious resource. The Trump-era navigable waters rule gave families and communities predictability when it came to the definition of federal waters. As the administration considers these sweeping regulations, I will continue to fight to make sure the voices of Nebraskans are heard.”

More information:

In 2015, the Obama Administration finalized a rule that greatly expanded the definition of federally regulated Waters of the United States for Nebraska’s agriculture and business communities. President Biden signed an executive order that would roll back the Trump Administration’s executive order which began the process of rescinding Obama’s WOTUS rule and could lead to the elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule released in April of 2020. 

Senator Fischer has been a leader in efforts to stop the 2015 WOTUS rule and applauded the Trump Administration’s rescinding of the rule. On July 29, Senator Fischer joined 31 of her colleagues in cosponsoring legislation that would codify the Navigable Water Protection Rule into law. Last month, she signed a letter to EPA Administrator Regan and the Army Corps of Engineers Acting Assistant Secretary expressing opposition to altering the Navigable Water Protection Rule, the Trump administration’s replacement of the 2015 WOTUS Rule. Earlier this year, Senator Fischer joined 25 of her Senate colleagues in a resolution calling for the Senate not to eliminate the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

After the Obama administration announced WOTUS, Senator Fischer chaired a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee field hearing in Lincoln regarding the rule. She also helped introduce the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would have required the Obama administration to consult states and stakeholders before imposing federal regulations on state-owned water resources, as well as the Defending Rivers from Overreaching Policies (DROP) Act. This bill targeted the flawed science used by the EPA to expand the definition of water. 

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