Sullivan Applauds Revised Definition of WOTUS Rule

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issuing a revised definition of the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) Rule:

“I join hard-working Alaskans and land owners across the country in welcoming the Trump administration’s final, clear WOTUS Rule, which stands in stark contrast to the burdensome and overreaching definition offered by the previous administration,” said Senator Sullivan. “Under the previous rule, land owners faced the potential for thousands of dollars in litigation and months of bureaucratic back-and-forth just to fill a ditch on their own property, or build a structure. Thanks to EPA Administrator Wheeler and the administration, that uncertainty has now been replaced with a reasonable and statutory interpretation of the Clean Water Act that will protect our cherished waterways without devastating Alaska’s economy.”

Background Information

  • On April 30, 2015, Senator Sullivan, along with Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), introduced the bipartisan Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140) to direct the EPA and Corps to issue a revised WOTUS rule that protects navigable water from water pollution, while also protecting farmers, ranchers and private landowners.
  • On May 19, 2015, Senator Sullivan chaired a subcommittee legislative hearing on S.1140 The Federal Water Quality Protection Act. This bill would have withdrawn the WOTUS rule and required EPA to more appropriately define what bodies are Waters of the United States. Witnesses included: Andrew Lemley, Mark Pifher, Pat Parenteau, Robert Pierce, Susan Metzger.
  • On September 30, 2015, Senator Sullivan chaired a subcommittee hearing titled “Oversight of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Participation in the Development of the New Regulatory Definition of ‘Waters of the United States.’” 
  • On May 24, 2016 Senator Sullivan chaired a subcommittee hearing titled “Erosion of Exemptions and Expansion of Federal Control –Implementation of the Definition of Waters of the United States.” Witnesses included: Damien Schiff, Don Parrish, Valerie Wilkinson, William Buzbee, Scott Kovarovics. 
  • On April 26, 2017, the EPW committee held an oversight hearing titled, “A Review of the Technical, Scientific, and Legal Basis of the WOTUS Rule.” At the hearing, Chairman Barrasso called for the withdrawal of the fundamentally flawed rule. Witnesses testified that the 2015 WOTUS rule is not supported by the Corps’ experience and expertise, scientific studies, or the law. 
  • On June 27, 2017, Senator Sullivan shared his views on the EPA’s efforts to withdraw and rewrite the overreaching WOTUS Rule. 
  • On September 27, 2017, Senator Sullivan, along with committee members Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), sent a letter to the EPA and Corps in support of the proposed withdrawal of the 2015 WOTUS rule.