Apr 10, 2023President Biden vetoes effort to overturn WOTUS regulation
President Joe Biden has vetoed a resolution that would have overturned protections for thousands of small streams, wetlands and other waterways which critics have labeled government overreach.
The veto came on April 6 after after the House and Senate used the Congressional Review Act to block a clean water rule adopted at the end of last year that returns protections of waterways to those outlined in the 2015 Clean Water Act.
In his veto, promised after the March 29 congressional action, Biden said the bipartisan measure would leave Americans without a clear definition of ‘Waters of the United States,‘ a long-disputed term used in the 2015 Clean Water Act to determine which waters and their conveyances fall under federal and state permitting authority.
Republicans — and some Democrats — have criticized the Environmental Protection Agency rule as overreach that harms businesses, developers and farmers, while supporters call it flexible and fair.
Republican lawmakers pushed almost immediately for a veto override.
The National Potato Council issued a statement on April 7 in response to Biden’s veto.
“While not unexpected, the veto of this bipartisan effort is disappointing,” Bob Mattive, NPC vice president of environmental affairs, said in the statement. “At the very least, we hope the Biden Administration will reflect on this bipartisan congressional rebuke and reconsider this tremendously broad overreach of the federal government’s authority over every farm ditch in America.”
The NPC had endorsed the joint resolution of disapproval, saying in a March 29 statemet: “The National Potato Council and our growers applaud this clear, bipartisan rebuke of the administration’s overreaching WOTUS rule. We urged Congress to push back against this unnecessarily broad rule that is certain to negatively impact the vast majority of farmers.”
In his veto statement, Biden said “increased uncertainty” caused by blocking the rule “would threaten economic growth, including for agriculture, local economies and downstream communities.”
In late December, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps Engineers repealed a Trump administration rule scaling back protections.
Last month, a federal judge paused the new rule in Texas and Idaho.