House Joins Senate in Challenging WOTUS

Under the leadership of Republicans, the U.S. House voted Wednesday to challenge the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency’s challenged Waters of the U.S. Rule.

By a vote of 253-166, with the support of Oklahoma Representatives Bridenstine, Cole, Lucas, Mullin and Russell, the House voted to overturn the rule that claimed federal authority over small waterways across the nation.

“Time and time again,” said Rep. Bridenstine, “this administration has used the regulatory process to increase the federal government’s authority, bypass Congressional intent, and trample on states’ rights. WOTUS amounts to a land grab by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Oklahoma’s congressmen have long opposed the rule that targeted even dry ditches as well as ponds and wetlands.

“This rule goes far beyond the scope of the Clean Water Act,” continued Bridenstine. “It works against the interests of farmers, energy producers, and land owners across this country.”

But he also recognizes that while the House joined the Senate in passing resolutions against WOTUS, they will be vetoed by President Obama.

“The House must reassert its Constitutional authority, using the power of the purse to defend the Obama Administraton’s bad policies and overreaching regulations. We surrendered that power for FY16 by using the Omnibus in place of the regular appropriations process.”

All but one of the 241 Republicans in the House voted for the resolution while the only Republican to vote against it was Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey. On the Democratic side of the aisle, 12 Democrats voted for the measure while 165 were against it.

Republicans are using the Congressional Review Act to challenge the rule. The act gives the lawmakers the ability to vote to block regulations in the first 60 legislative days after they are issued.

Speaker Paul Ryan called it a “power grab.”

“The EPA claims it is only clarifying the law, but Congress never intended the federal government to oversee tiny streams and ponds on private property,” wrote Ryan in an op-ed piece Wednesday in the Omaha World-Herald.

The state of Oklahoma was one of several states that filed suit against the EPA. A federal judge in North Dakota issued a temporary injunction against WOTUS in North Dakota and a dozen other states. Then on Oct. 9, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide injunction on the implementation of the rule.


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