WASHINGTON – Following a report that the Biden Administration is set to roll back the previous administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Agriculture and Environment and Public Works Committees, issued the following statement:
“I fought tooth and nail to get the Obama-Biden WOTUS rule off the books and put in place a clearer, more flexible rule for farmers and ranchers under the Trump Administration. Now, President Biden plans to undo all that progress. This is a gut punch to Iowans, and I will continue to stand up to onerous regulations the Administration may seek to impose on our hardworking families, farmers, and businesses across Rural America,” said Ernst, the daughter of a farmer.
Earlier this year, Ernst led a Senate resolution that expresses the need for the U.S. Senate to stand with farmers, ranchers, and other important stakeholders by supporting the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection rule, which replaced the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
In 2015, the Obama Administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of WOTUS—giving the federal government authority to regulate water on 97 percent of the land in Iowa—and creating confusion and burdensome red tape for Iowa’s agriculture industry and many others. Immediately, Senator Ernst took action and introduced legislation that would have nullified the Obama Administration’s rule. After passing both the House and Senate—with bipartisan support—the bill was vetoed by President Obama.
Before his inauguration, Ernst signaled her intention to work with President Trump and his administration to get Obama’s harmful WOTUS rule off the books. The Trump Administration released a proposed rule to replace the Obama Administration’s 2015 WOTUS rule with a new rule that provided much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers by establishing clear and reasonable definitions of what qualifies as a “water of the United States.” The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule was finalized last year.
Ernst has also helped introduce the Define WOTUS Act last Congress, a bill to legislatively define the “waters of the United States,” and make a reasonable, workable definition of the term permanent.