Capito’s Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval challenging Biden’s overreaching waters rule had passed Senate and House with bipartisan support

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 after President Biden vetoed her Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval that overturns the administration’s overreaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval, led by Ranking Member Capito and U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.-06), previously passed both the Senate and House of Representatives with bipartisan support by a vote of 53-43 and 227-198, respectively.

“By vetoing this Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval, President Biden is ignoring the will of a bipartisan majority in Congress, leaving millions of Americans in limbo, and crippling future energy and infrastructure projects with red tape. There’s a reason those who work in agriculture, building, mining, and small businesses of all kinds across America strongly supported our effort to block the Biden waters rule, and I’m disappointed the president chose to stand by his blatant executive overreach,” Ranking Member Capito said.


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, which was approved in March by a vote of 53-43.

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.


In 2015, the Obama administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of WOTUS, creating confusion and burdensome red tape, especially for West Virginia’s agriculture, construction, and coal industries. 

The Trump administration released a proposed rule to replace the 2015 WOTUS rule with a new one that provided much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers by establishing clear and reasonable definitions of what qualifies as a “water of the United States.” The NWPR was finalized in 2020.

On day one of his administration, President Biden signed an executive order to begin the process of rolling back the Trump administration’s NWPR.

In December 2022, the EPA issued a new rule repealing the NWPR and changing the definition of WOTUS in a way that will expand federal regulatory authority.

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