Skip to content

Ernst Statement on Nationwide Suspension of WOTUS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, ruled to suspend implementation of the final “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule nationwide, stating among other things, that defendants of the rule have not “…identified specific scientific support substantiating the reasonableness” of certain parts of this rule. By issuing a “stay” (a suspended implementation of the rule for a period of time), Iowa - and the rest of the nation - are granted a reprieve from this ill-conceived and harmful rule. Upon this ruling, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) released the following statement:

“Today’s ruling sends a strong message to the EPA that it has for too long ignored the voice and legitimate concerns raised by those directly impacted by the expanded definition of WOTUS and mounting overregulation on hardworking Americans.

“The EPA continues to act as an unchecked federal agency of the Obama Administration, expanding its power over Iowa farms, small businesses, ranchers, and other landowners in our rural communities.

“It is abundantly clear that this ill-conceived rule breeds uncertainty and confusion, while adding more red tape that threatens the livelihoods of many in Iowa and across the country.

“That is why I recently introduced a resolution, along with 49 of my Senate colleagues, to scrap this rule and send a message to the EPA that they failed to address the concerns raised by farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses in Iowa and across the country.

“I remain steadfast in my commitment to see this rule scrapped for good and not just on pause. It’s time President Obama’s EPA take into account the commonsense voice of hardworking Iowans who know what this rule means for them and their families."

From the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit Ruling:

"A stay allows for a more deliberate determination whether this exercise of Executive power, enabled by Congress and explicated by the Supreme Court, is proper under the dictates of federal law. A stay temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty about the requirements of the new Rule and whether they will survive legal testing. A stay honors the policy of cooperative federalism that informs the Clean Water Act and must attend the shared responsibility for safeguarding the nation’s waters. See 33 U.S.C. § 1251(b) ("It is the policy of Congress to recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of the States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution."). In light of the disparate rulings on this very question issued by district courts around the country—enforcement of the Rule having been preliminarily enjoined in thirteen states —a stay will, consistent with Congress’s stated purpose of establishing a national policy, 33 U.S.C. § 1251(a), restore uniformity of regulation under the familiar, if imperfect, pre-Rule regime, pending judicial review.

"Accordingly, on due review of the relevant considerations in light of the briefs filed by petitioners, respondents and intervenors, and in the exercise of our discretion, we GRANT petitioners’ motion for stay. The Clean Water Rule is hereby STAYED, nationwide, pending further order of the court."

Sen. Ernst’s Efforts to Scrap WOTUS:

  • In September, Senator Ernst led a group of 49 Senators in a joint resolution of disapproval to scrap the expanded WOTUS definition, sending a strong message to EPA and ACE that they failed to address concerns raised by Iowans.
  • In May, Senator Ernst denounced the EPA’s finalized WOTUS rule as harmful to Iowa.
  • In May, Senator Ernst also introduced Iowa farmer and small business owner Darcy Maulsby to testify on the impact of WOTUS before the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, and share her personal experience with the harmful impact and overregulation by the EPA in Iowa.
  • In February, Senator Ernst invited EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to Iowa to see the potential impact of overregulation in Iowa. Administrator McCarthy has yet to take Senator Ernst up on this offer.

# # #