U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement after the Trump administration announced the final repeal of the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, ending the regulatory patchwork that would have negatively impacted all Nebraskans:
“I have long been an advocate for eliminating the 2015 WOTUS, which represented an unprecedented overreach by the federal government at the expense of families, communities, and businesses. Nebraskans own the water in our state, and we take great care of this precious natural resource. After years of fighting WOTUS through legislative efforts, I’m pleased to see the Trump administration end this harmful rule once and for all. ”
In 2015, the Obama administration implemented a rule that sought to clarify which waterways and wetlands are regulated as “waters of the U.S.” under the 1972 Clean Water Act. This regulation allowed the federal government to expand its jurisdiction to nearly all water in Nebraska and across the country. Legal action blocked the rule in 27 states, including Nebraska.
Today’s announcement by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler marks the end of step one, which serves as a final repeal of the Obama-era WOTUS rules and once again brings all 50 states under the same regulation. Step two, which is expected by the end of 2019, will provide a definition of “waters of the U.S.”
Fischer championed several legislative efforts to stop the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule. In March 2015, she chaired a field hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Lincoln, Nebraska, to hear firsthand from Nebraskans about the negative effects of the rule.