The rule comes after The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers worked together to define the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The final rule is set to protect the US’ public health and aquatic resources, as well as increasing CWA programme predictability and consistency by specifying the scope of WOTUS protected under the act.
However, the rule has been criticised by the NCBA. “America’s cattlemen and women are drowning in federal regulation that adds burdens, costs and uncertainty to our businesses,” said NCBA president Philip Ellis.
'Millions of dollars'
“The WOTUS regulation is the greatest overreach yet. If allowed to take effect, it would give EPA jurisdiction over millions of acres of state and private property. Without action by Congress and the president to withdraw this rule: producers, stakeholders and states will be forced to continue litigation, adding millions of dollars in expenses and years in delay.”
A joint resolution was passed on 4 November by the Senate (53-44), brought by Senator Joni Ernst under the Congressional Review Act.
The resolution calls on the EPA and the Corps to withdraw the WOTUS rule, as well as preventing the organisations from any further similar rule-making. The next stage is for the resolution to be passed by the House and signed by US president Barack Obama.