WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement on the start of the process to withdraw the problematic Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun the regular inter-agency review process by delivering to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a draft rule to withdraw the WOTUS rule. 

“The overreaching WOTUS rule would put prairie potholes and puddles under Washington’s control,” said Barrasso. “Now, the Trump administration is taking the important first steps to remove this punishing regulation and start over. We can protect America’s waterways without hurting our farmers, ranchers, and landowners.”

Last week, the EPW committee held an oversight hearing titled “A Review of the Technical, Scientific, and Legal Basis of the WOTUS Rule.” At the hearing, Chairman Barrasso called for the withdrawal of the fundamentally flawed rule. Witnesses testified that the WOTUS rule is not supported by:

  • Army Corps of Engineers experience and expertise;
  • scientific studies; or
  • the law.

The hearing featured testimony from Major General John Peabody (Ret.); Dr. Michael Josselyn, of Wetlands Research Associates; Mr. Misha Tseytlin, solicitor general for the State of Wisconsin; Mr. Ken Kopocis, associate professor at American University Washington College of Law; and Mr. Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

Background Information

On April 30, 2015, Barrasso, along with Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), led a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140).

Barrasso’s bill directed the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to issue a revised WOTUS rule that protects navigable water from water pollution, while also protecting farmers, ranchers and private landowners.

On Feb. 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to revise the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ WOTUS rule. Barrasso attended the order’s signing ceremony at the White House.