WASHINGTON DC (January 23, 2020) — Senators Charles "Chuck" Grassley, a family farmer and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Senate Agriculture Committee, are commending the Trump administration for successfully rolling back the harmful Obama-era “Waters of the United States” or “WOTUS” rule and replacing it with a workable rule that clearly defines what waters fall under federal jurisdiction. This regulatory certainty will continue to help spur record economic growth.
“President Trump deserves credit for following through on his promise to repeal this Obama-era rule that would have defined 97 percent of Iowa as a waterway,” Sen Grassley said. “Giving the federal government the power to regulate nearly all of Iowa would have been an economic catastrophe. My neighbors who farm in Butler County shouldn’t have to get permission from bureaucrats in Washington to move soil on their own land. This was just another example of out-of-touch and ill-conceived government overreach. This new rule will help keep our water and land clean without destroying Iowa’s small businesses and family farming operations.”
“For years, Iowans have told me what an egregious overreach Obama’s WOTUS rule was, giving the federal government authority to regulate 97 percent of the land in Iowa. That’s absurd, and it’s why I’ve worked hard to get rid of it,” Sen Ernst said. “After working relentlessly alongside the Trump Administration, I’m proud that we’ve successfully scrapped this Obama-era rule and are now providing the predictability and certainty our hardworking farmers, manufacturers, and landowners in Iowa deserve. Under President Trump’s leadership, we’ve fought to get the government off the backs of farmers and business-owners and have had major wins on trade — like the USMCA, the Phase-One China deal, and the Japan agreement — all of which are spurring a sense of optimism and economic growth across rural America.”
The Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule lists four categories of waters that are “waters of the United States” and subject to federal jurisdiction. It also clearly describes the types of waters that will not be considered “waters of the United States.” For example, the rule makes clear that most ditches, prior converted cropland and groundwater will not be federally regulated.
Sen Grassley has long spoken out against the WOTUS rule and voted to defund the flawed rule. Along with Sen Ernst, Sen Grassley and members of the Iowa congressional delegation urged then-President-elect Trump to scrap the rule and praised EPA in June of 2017 for taking action to withdraw the rule.