WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement in response to a letter 11 Senate Democrats sent today to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking for clarification on the final WOTUS rule while also voting to block Senate consideration of S.1140:  

“It is extremely disappointing that after failing to do their job to provide legislative clarity to the EPA on the regulation of our nation’s waters, Senate Democrats are writing a letter to the administration saying they reserve the right to do their jobs, simply at a later time. Proceeding to S. 1140 provided all Senators, including the 11 Senators authoring this letter, the opportunity to amend S. 1140 in an open process. They then could have given EPA necessary direction on how to implement the Clean Water Act and the Waters of the U.S. rule.  Legislating provides the legal clarity for the EPA to implement rules.  Because EPA has failed to issue an appropriate rule, the federal courts have issued a national stay.  When is a better time for Congress to begin that necessary work than with a vote on S.1140?”

The letter was signed by signed by Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). In the letter, the Senators stated: "Farmers, ranchers, water utilities, local governments, and contractors deserve this clarity and certainty. Should the EPA not provide this clarity or enforce this rule in a way that erodes traditional exemptions, we reserve the right to support efforts in the future to revise the rule.”