WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announcement of the repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. 

Barrasso is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), which has jurisdiction over the EPA and the Corps. 

“The WOTUS rule would have put backyard ponds, puddles, and prairie potholes under Washington’s control,” said Barrasso. “I applaud the Trump administration for working to remove this outrageous regulation. Americans deserve clean water and clear rules. We need rules that protect water and respect local authority.”

Background Information

On June 12, 2019, the EPW committee held a hearing titled “A Review of Waters of the U.S. Regulations: Their Impact on States and the American People.” At the hearing, witnesses testified on what the Trump administration could do to get a replacement definition right.

On September 27, 2017, Barrasso, along with committee members Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), sent a letter to the EPA and Corps in support of the proposed withdrawal of the 2015 WOTUS rule.

On April 26, 2017, 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 2015 WOTUS rule is not supported by the Corps’ experience and expertise, scientific studies, or the law. 

On February 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to review and then revise or rescind the 2015 WOTUS rule. Barrasso attended the order’s signing ceremony at the White House.

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 Corps to issue a revised WOTUS rule that protects navigable water from water pollution, while also protecting farmers, ranchers and private landowners.