“Most Overreaching Federal Regulation Ever" is Back

Date: September 23, 2021

Washington state U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse discusses WOTUS in exclusive call with NFIB members.

In an exclusive August 21 call with NFIB Washington members, U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse called it “the biggest issue facing rural America.”

The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule might sound like an issue far bigger than a normal small-business concern, but it most definitely is not, as Congressman Newhouse explains in a special NFIB video presentation, Save Your Land: What Small Business Landowners Need to Know About WOTUS. (Video below)

In 2015, the Obama Administration attempted to expand WOTUS to bring nearly every pond, puddle, ditch, stream, creek, or other body of water under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. This could have resulted in the need for everyday small-business owners to obtain expensive and time-consuming permits from the federal government to farm, ranch, or develop their property. Congressman Newhouse called it “the most overreaching federal regulation ever put into place.”

In 2020, the Trump Administration replaced WOTUS with its Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA), which brought much-needed predictability and certainty to environmental protection. Now, the Biden Administration wants to bring back a revised WOTUS.

“They’re going to rewrite the rule just as heavy-handed and radical as the Obama rule was,” warned Newhouse. “We got to push back on this as hard as we can on the administration to help them make the right decision.” See the Take Action link below.

“The basic jurisdictional question, what are navigable waters covered by the Clean Water Act, is absolutely critical,” said Mitch Relfe, NFIB’s manager of government relations, who hosted the call with Congressman Newhouse. “In nearly 50 years, we still don’t have a stable answer as to what are the jurisdictional waters of the Clean Water Act.”

Relfe led off the special NFIB-member meeting with a five-slide PowerPoint presentation with background information on the WOTUS/NWPA issue.

“Hopefully, we can get this thing put to bed, but we’re not there yet,” said Newhouse. “Overregulation and federal overreach have never proven to be effective ways to protect our natural resources, and there’s no better example of than WOTUS.”

Click here to Take Action on urging Congress to keep the NWPA rule in place.

Click the arrow below to watch the NFIB conversation with Congressman Newhouse.

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