Sullivan Welcomes Revised Definition of WOTUS Rule

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), 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) proposed revised definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:

“I welcome the EPA’s long awaited proposal to restore power to states and protect land owners – and hardworking Alaskans – from the confusing and burdensome federal overreach of the last Administration’s WOTUS rule,” said Senator Sullivan. “If a landowner or a farmer has to hire a lawyer for months of work against an impenetrable and glacial bureaucracy – at the cost of thousands of dollars – just to understand whether they can fill in a ditch or build a basic structure, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that doesn’t work, especially in Alaska. The EPA’s proposal offers a path for a more reasonable, statutory based interpretation of the Clean Water Act. I hope we can continue this progress and finalize a rule that clearly allocates state and federal authority to adequately protect our watersheds and resources, without unnecessarily burdening Alaskans and our economy.”

Background Information

  • On April 30, 2015, Senator Sullivan, along with Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), 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 This bill would have withdrawn the WOTUS rule and required EPA to more appropriately define what bodies are Waters of the United States.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 Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to withdraw and rewrite the overreaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule.
  • On September 27, 2017, Senator Sullivan, along with committee members Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), sent a letter to the EPA and Corps in support of the proposed withdrawal of the 2015 WOTUS rule.

Background Documents