The Senate on Wednesday voted 53-44 on S.J. Res. 22, a resolution to withdraw the Waters of the U.S. regulation, drawing praise from farm groups.
"America's farmers and ranchers care deeply about clean water, and we are committed to protecting it for future generations," said Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association. "But this rule is not based on science or law, does not clarify farmers' responsibilities under the Clean Water Act and will not improve water quality.
Groups had opposed the rule on grounds that it expanded EPA jurisdiction to include ephemeral streams and upstream waters on private land.
Though the resolution to eliminate the rule was approved, the Senate previously voted down a bill that would have revised the WOTUS regulation, S. 1140.
"We supported S. 1140 because we believe the EPA, the Corps, farmers and other stakeholders must collaborate on a better rule we can all get behind. While that bill did not pass, we appreciate the Senate's actions [Wednesday], and we remain hopeful that cooperation and dialogue can win the day.
"We have been engaged with EPA from the beginning and our door remains open. Let's work together on a better rule that will give farmers the certainty they need while protecting America's water resources," Bowling added.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Public Lands Council also supported the resolution vote.
"America's cattlemen and women are drowning in federal regulation that adds burdens, costs and uncertainty to our businesses," said NCBA President Philip Ellis "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."
The joint resolution passed by the Senate was brought by Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, under the Congressional Review Act. This resolution would order the EPA and Corps to withdraw the WOTUS rule and would prevent the agencies from further similar rulemaking. The joint resolution must now be passed by the House and signed by the President.