Inhofe Statement to Override President Obama’s Veto on WOTUS Disapproval Resolution


WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, submitted the following statement for the record today to override President Obama’s veto of S.J. Res. 22, Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule:


By vetoing Senator Ernst’s Congressional Review Act Resolution, President Obama is ignoring the pleas of states, local governments, farmers, small businesses, and property owners all over this country.

He is ignoring the conclusion of legal counsel for the Corps of Engineers that the rule is “inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s decisions in Rapanos and SWANCC.”

He is ignoring determinations by two federal courts that EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule is likely illegal – and therefore should not go into effect until the 32 states that have sued to stop this rule have their day in court. 

Finally, he is ignoring a legal decision issued by the Government Accountability Office that, in developing this rule, EPA broke the law.

According to GAO’s December 14 decision, EPA’s attempts to defend and promote their rule were not legitimate.  In fact, GAO found that EPA’s actions constituted illegal covert propaganda and grassroots lobbying.  

EPA conducted covert propaganda when they drafted a message of support for the WOTUS rule and then convinced 980 people to send that message to their social media network.   GAO estimates that this message reached about 1.8 million people who had no idea that they were receiving a message that was written by EPA.  In fact, the public was encouraged to send the EPA-written message back to EPA – the ultimate echo chamber.  This is covert propaganda taken to a new extreme. 

EPA engaged in grassroots lobbying activity when they posted messages on their official government website that directed the public to visit the websites of environmental activist groups who were soliciting opposition to Congressional efforts to send this WOTUS rule back to the drawing board.  In fact, EPA linked their government website to “action alerts” issued by these activist groups.

Because EPA’s covert propaganda and lobbying efforts are illegal, they also violated the Anti-Deficiency Act.  This Act prohibits the unauthorized use of taxpayer dollars. 

EPA issued a statement disagreeing with GAO, but their opinion is irrelevant.  We live in a world of law.  Federal agencies don’t to decide what laws they chose to obey.  EPA does not get to decide what constitutes a violation of the ban on propaganda and lobbying.  EPA does not get to decide what constitutes a violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act.  GAO does.  And GAO has issued its legal decision.

If EPA continues with this illegal activity, they will in knowing and willful violation of the Anti–Deficiency Act.  And a knowing and willful violation is a crime. 

By vetoing S.J. Res. 22, President Obama aligning himself with an illegal rule and is encouraging illegal agency activities and the unauthorized use of taxpayer dollars. This has to stop. No member of this body should associate himself or herself with these activities.

Please join me in voting to overturn this veto.