WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the below statement applauding House passage of a formal challenge to the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval.
“When Congressman Graves and I introduced resolutions of disapproval in the both the Senate and House, we wanted to show Congress is united in defending millions of Americans from President Biden’s overreaching navigable waters rule,” Ranking Member Capito said. “I commend the House for taking an important step today to overturn the Biden WOTUS rule, and look forward to leading my Senate colleagues in sending it to the president’s desk.”
In February 2023, Ranking Member Capito led all 48 of her Senate Republican colleagues in introducing a Senate joint resolution of disapproval simultaneously alongside US. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.-06), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I)
HISTORY OF CAPITO’S ACTIONS ON WOTUS, NWPR:
In February 2023, Ranking Member Capito led all 48 of her Senate Republican colleagues in introducing a formal challenge to the Biden administration’s WOTUS rule through a CRA joint resolution of disapproval.
In September 2022, Ranking Member Capito led 46 of her Republican colleagues in introducing the START Act, comprehensive federal regulatory permitting and project review reform legislation that would have codified the Trump administration’s NWPR definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.
In April 2022, Ranking Member Capito led 45 senators and 154 House members on an amicus curiae brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the petitioners in the pending case Sackett v. EPA, which is directly related to how much authority the federal government has over states and private citizens to regulate “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.
In February 2022, Ranking Member Capito led her Republican colleagues on the EPW committee in a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor specifically requesting the Biden administration immediately halt plans to finalize a novel definition of WOTUS under the Clean Water Act until after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sackett v. EPA.
In November 2021, Ranking Member Capito issued a statement expressing her dismay at the announcement of the first step in EPA’s two-step process to replace the Trump administration’s 2020 NWPR and promulgate a new definition of WOTUS.
In August 2021, Ranking Member Capito sent a letter to EPA Administrator Regan and Jaime Pinkham, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, asking for a more complete and comprehensive stakeholder engagement process regarding repealing and replacing NWPR. Specifically, Ranking Member Capito requested an extended public comment period for receiving recommendations.
That letter followed Ranking Member Capito’s previous letter requesting additional clarity on the basis for the decision to repeal and replace NWPR and yet another letter, which she led her Republican colleagues on the committee in sending, requesting increased transparency into the process of repealing NWPR.
In July 2021, Michael Connor, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Corps, admitted he wasn’t aware of any specific environmental degradation under NWPR.
Ranking Member Capito, along with Senators Cramer, Lummis, Inhofe, and Wicker, also introduced legislation in July 2021 that would codify NWPR.
In February 2021, the Senate passed an amendment introduced by Senator Capito that upheld the Trump administration’s NWPR.
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