Tillis, Fischer commend repeal of Obama’s water rule

U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) on Sept. 12 applauded the administration’s repeal of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which was implemented in 2015 by former President Barack Obama.

“After years of fighting WOTUS through legislative efforts, I’m pleased to see the Trump administration end this harmful rule once and for all,” said Sen. Fischer.

The WOTUS rule sought to clarify which waterways and wetlands could be regulated as “waters of the United States” under the 1972 Clean Water Act and allowed the federal government to expand its jurisdiction to nearly all waters across the country.

However, subsequent legal action blocked the rule in 27 states.

On Sept. 12, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army published a final rule to repeal the 2015 definition of WOTUS and restore the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 rule.

The final rule, said Sen. Fischer’s office, serves as a final repeal of the Obama-era WOTUS rules and again brings all 50 states under the same regulation.

“Step 1 will preserve our nation’s water quality and will place all states on the same playing field under the Clean Water Act — eliminating the patchwork of regulations that caused confusion and uncertainty for farmers and landowners across the country,” Sen. Tillis said.

Sen. Fischer’s office added that Step 2, which is expected by the end of the year, will provide a definition of WOTUS.

“I look forward to seeing Step 2 of the WOTUS repeal finalized so that we can provide flexibility to states, tribes, and localities to determine best water management practices,” Sen. Tillis said. “North Carolina’s farmers, landowners and small businesses — not Washington bureaucrats — should be in charge of the land and water they own.”

Sen. Fischer said the previous rule “represented an unprecedented overreach by the federal government at the expense of families, communities and businesses.”

“Nebraskans own the water in our state, and we take great care of this precious natural resource,” she said.