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Congress Passes Legislation to Repeal Controversial Waters Rules

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, January 14, the US House of Representatives this week passed a resolution to overturn the controversial Obama Administration redefinition of “Waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act to include all manner of small areas where waters collects, such as ditches, puddles and ponds. Obama’s redefinition of the rule would give the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction of virtually all water in this country.

US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) spoke in favor of the resolutions on the floor of the House of Representatives. Roby said, “We are again taking important and long-awaited action on behalf of farmers, foresters and anyone who owns land by sending to the president’s desk a joint resolution ending the aggressive overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency into private lands.”

US Representative Bradley Byre (R from Montrose) said, “Red tape from Washington is making life much harder for Alabama’s farmers and foresters. That’s why today the House passed a bill to block the EPA’s new “Waters of the US” rule. You may have heard about the proposed rule, which seeks to redefine “navigable waterways” to include everything from a family pond to small ditches. This new definition would make farmers, foresters, municipalities, and small businesses subject to additional federal regulation and could result in new compliance costs. This bill is now headed to President Obama’s desk where the American people can once again see if the President stands with them or with far-left special interest groups.”

US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) said, “Reining in executive branch overreach, particularly at the EPA which is one of the worst offenders, remains one of my highest priorities in Congress. The EPA has not listened to the public, which overwhelmingly rejects the idea that the EPA should be able to regulate ponds and ditches and other small bodies of water on private land. This is another example of EPA overreach and I am pleased to join my colleagues in voting to stop it.”

US Representatives Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said, “I was pleased to have the chance to support the disapproval of the rule today. If this rule didn’t hurt East Alabama’s landowners and farmers, it would be laughable. The rule actually gives the EPA control of puddles. It’s a perfect example of President Obama and the massive Federal government’s overreach into our everyday lives.”

Congresswoman Roby said, “S.J. Res. 22 is a joint resolution with the US Senate to end the EPA’s Waters of the United States Rule, seeking to expand the definition of navigable waters to include puddles, ditches and other small bodies of water, making them subject to inspection. Of course we all want to ensure that rules are followed to keep our waters clean. But, making puddles and ditches subject to inspection just to expand the reach of federal regulators has nothing to do with clean water.”

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Rep. Roby said, “You might recall that the House voted to put a stop to Waters of the US Rule last year, and the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a nationwide stay on the rule. However, this joint resolution is the measure we needed to finally send this bill to the president and put the responsibility for this harmful rule on him. I will continue to fight against this radical environmental agenda being forced on Americans by this Administration through executive overreach, and Congress is right to take steps to stop it.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said, “Today, the House passed a joint resolution rejecting the President’s unconstitutional Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Disguised as a water cleanup measure, WOTUS is really an EPA power grab that threatens the livelihood of Americans who work the land to make a living. It would be an economic disaster. A bipartisan group of 32 governors are suing the federal government over the rule’s legality. Congress’ resolution aims to void WOTUS, restoring states as primary regulators of water. Having already passed the Senate, this WOTUS repeal bill will go right to the president’s desk, where he will have to choose between protecting either his job-killing regulation or the economy.”

House today by a vote of 253 to 166 and was passed by the Senate in November 2015. The measure now goes to the President’s desk.

Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District. Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District.


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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