[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 45 (Thursday, March 9, 2023)]
[Pages H1221-H1230]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 
199, I call up the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 27) providing for 
congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States 
Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of the Army, Corps of 
Engineers, Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection 
Agency relating to ``Revised Definition of `Waters of the United 
States' '', and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.
  The Clerk read the title of the joint resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 199, the joint 
resolution is considered read.
  The text of the joint resolution is as follows:

                              H.J. Res. 27

       Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
     United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress 
     disapproves the rule submitted by the Department of the Army, 
     Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense and the 
     Environmental Protection Agency relating to ``Revised 
     Definition of `Waters of the United States' '' (88 Fed. Reg. 
     3004 (January 18, 2023)), and such rule shall have no force 
     or effect.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The joint resolution shall be debatable for 
1 hour, equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking 
minority member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
or their respective designees.
  The gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Graves) and the gentleman from 
Washington (Mr. Larsen) each will control 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Graves).

                             General Leave

  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on H.J. Res. 27.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Missouri?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in support of H.J. Res. 27, which I 
introduced, to negate an ill-timed and ill-conceived rule coming out of 
the Biden administration which, if Congress fails to act, will go into 
effect later this month.
  The Clean Water Act is landmark legislation that was signed into law 
50 years ago that has greatly improved the health of the Nation's 
  Unfortunately, we have consistently seen increasingly expansive 
interpretations of the Clean Water Act result in the implementation of 
a flawed and overreaching water policy. This has hindered our ability 
to achieve the Clean Water Act's true underlying water quality goals.
  There is no clearer example of this overreach than the debate over 
the definition of waters of the United States, or WOTUS.
  Decades of agency interpretation and misinterpretations have created 
uncertainty for rural communities, for farmers, for ranchers, for 
businesses and industries who rely on clean water.
  Although the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule finally provided 
long-awaited clarity on the scope of WOTUS, the new administration 
decided to unravel the water protection rule and attempt to replace it, 
once again, creating confusion and chaos.
  The definition of WOTUS matters to the everyday lives of people all 
over the country, including in my district.
  For instance, I have a constituent who wanted to build a pond on his 
property and had received local and State permits to do just that. But 
then the Army Corps of Engineers, they stepped in and they said he 
would have

[[Page H1222]]

to spend $165,000 in environmental mitigation. This is absolutely 
  Returning to a more costly, burdensome, and broad WOTUS definition 
could have a massive impact on local communities and Americans' ability 
to do their jobs and manage their own private property.
  I urge support of this joint resolution to stop this burdensome and 
overreaching WOTUS rule.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Clean water is a human right, and the health and safety of our 
communities and the success of our economy depend upon it.
  House Democrats stand for clean water, and today, I rise to oppose 
H.J. Res. 27.
  Last Congress, we passed a bipartisan, once-in-a-generation 
investment in our Nation's infrastructure through the bipartisan 
infrastructure law, investing almost $13 billion in clean water 
infrastructure upgrades and creating jobs in communities across this 
  The BIL showed what Congress can do when we focus on the needs of 
American families. Yet, instead of putting people over pollution, this 
CRA does the opposite.
  Now, my State of Washington is defined by its clean water, including 
the health of the Puget Sound and the hundreds of lakes and thousands 
of miles of rivers and streams throughout the State.
  My constituents know that rivers, streams, and wetlands, are 
intrinsically connected. Pollution that starts in one body of water 
does not stay put.
  House Democrats believe we can protect clean water, while providing 
certainty to businesses, to farmers, to Americans who depend upon clean 
water for their lives and livelihoods.
  This is especially true for the 117 million Americans who depend on 
smaller streams as a source of their drinking water at a time when many 
States are facing historic droughts.
  My colleagues on the other side of the aisle say they want clean 
water rules that are simple, clear and easy to follow. I want that, 
  The Biden administration's Clean Water Restoration Rule does exactly 
that; following the law and the science of protecting clean water and 
providing regulatory certainty and stability to the implementation of 
the Clean Water Act.
  This resolution does the opposite. This resolution will not bring 
back the previous administration's Navigable Waters Protection Rule, 
which removed Federal protections on roughly half of the Nation's 
wetlands and 70 percent of its rivers and streams.
  That rule was rightly rejected by a Federal court in 2021, as 
``fundamentally flawed'' and likely to cause ``serious environmental 
harm'' every day it remained in effect. It is off the table entirely.
  This resolution before us today will also not eliminate the use of 
the ``significant nexus'' test because that test was mandated by the 
U.S. Supreme Court. It has been in effect since the Bush administration 
and remains in place today.

                              {time}  1245

  However, this resolution will adversely impact farmers, ranchers, and 
developers by creating regulatory chaos and eliminating important 
exclusions that have been codified in the new rule to help water-
dependent businesses and farmers to understand and comply with the law.
  Now, despite fear-mongering on this issue, the truth is simple. The 
Biden proposal will have no impact on the average family farmer in this 
country. Why? That is because farmers are, by law, largely exempt from 
the Clean Water Act permitting requirements where less than 1 percent 
of all annual wetlands permits relate to agricultural activities 
  Therefore, if your farm is engaged in normal farming, forestry, and 
ranching activity, or undertakes the construction or maintenance of a 
farm, stock pond, or irrigation ditch, you are exempt from the 
permitting requirements of the act, and the current proposal does not 
change that exemption.
  Finally, for those waiting to see whether the Supreme Court will 
somehow fix this issue in the upcoming Sackett case, this resolution 
will actually hinder the ability of the Corps and the EPA to respond to 
the Supreme Court's potential recommendations later this year.
  That is why this resolution before us makes no sense. It would 
invalidate the Biden rule and all the clarifications and exceptions for 
business it contains in favor of a similarly structured but much less 
clear regulatory framework. That is a recipe for uncertainty, legal 
battles, and continued gridlock, the opposite of what proponents say 
they are looking for. It would also tie the hands of Federal agencies 
seeking to help individuals comply with the law, unless Congress acts 
  This shortsighted action will lessen, not increase, certainty. It is 
a big mistake. I support the administration's efforts to efficiently 
implement the critical water infrastructure investments included in the 
BIL so we can begin to realize the public health, economic, and 
environmental benefits that come with clean water.
  This resolution represents a giant step backward for clean water, 
increases uncertainty for farmers, homebuilders, roadbuilders, and all 
American families, and doubles down on the infighting and chaos.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing H.J. Res. 27 and move 
together toward a future with predictability for those that need it and 
clean water for communities that cannot survive without it.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Rouzer), the cosponsor of the 
  Mr. ROUZER. Mr. Speaker, I will note that you are exempt until you 
are not exempt.
  I rise in support of H.J. Res. 27. This is a very important and 
crucial resolution that we pass. There is no greater example of 
bureaucratic overreach under the Clean Water Act than the longstanding 
regulatory ordeal of understanding and complying with the definition of 
``waters of the United States,'' or WOTUS, as we call it.
  Despite the benefits of the Clean Water Act, its history has been 
wrought with the tortured past stemming from regulatory headaches and 
overreach from bureaucrats, all because Congress never defined what a 
``navigable water'' is. Many times, this combination has led to 
uncertainty for individuals and the more formally regulated 
  The reality is, this resolution is only necessary because of the 
Biden administration's decision to publish a new definition of ``waters 
of the United States'' under the Clean Water Act. It is very important 
that Congress ensures this overreaching definition has no force.
  Now, in my mind, regulations should carry out the intent of the law 
in a simple, easily understood, and transparent manner, leaving no 
wiggle room for any bureaucrat to substitute their own biases and 
hijack the process. Unfortunately, that is not the case with this new 
WOTUS rule.
  Put simply, this rule is the equivalent of a nuclear warhead aimed 
right at our farmers, communities, homebuilders, roadbuilders, and 
private property owners, among many others. The ramifications of its 
implementation will be far and wide, affecting the prosperity and 
economic opportunity of all Americans. As of March 20, that nuclear 
warhead is going to be launched.
  Once the Federal Government has complete control over the definition 
of a ``water,'' because of an arbitrary and ambiguous definition, it 
will then have control over everything else that is applied to the 
land, whether it be application of pesticides or herbicides or the 
building of a fence or a shed or anything else.
  A farmer, homeowner, or any other property owner could be prosecuted 
for these simple and customary actions because a bureaucrat decides 
that what they have done affects a ``navigable water.''
  So let's be clear. Ambiguity and subjectivity enshrined by an 
environmental rule are no friends of freedom, the production of food or 
other goods, or prosperity.
  Despite what supporters of the Biden WOTUS rule say, it will do 
nothing to

[[Page H1223]]

bring forth certainty and consistency, except for the trial lawyers and 
radical environmentalists who are most certainly consistent and 
persistent in their work to use the executive and judicial branches of 
government to essentially halt the work of, and extort from, those who 
  I am proud to cosponsor and support this legislation, Mr. Speaker. I 
encourage my colleagues to vote for it.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from New Mexico (Ms. Stansbury).
  Ms. STANSBURY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today as a proud daughter of New 
Mexico, as a water resources professional, and as a defender of the 
most basic element that we need to survive, which is water.
  In New Mexico, water is life, water is sacred, water is culture, and 
water is fundamental to everything that we do and everything that we 
  For years, our State and our country and our communities have ridden 
the roller coaster of regulatory rollbacks on the Clean Water Act, but 
I never could have imagined that in the year 2023, we would be voting 
on a bill to gut the rule that protects our streams and rivers and our 
right to have clean water.
  In 2023, just weeks ago, a train derailment in East Palestine sent 
toxic smoke into the atmosphere, and people were afraid to turn on 
their taps and drink the water. The American people want clean water. 
Yet, here we are, weeks later, being forced to take a vote on a bill 
that would gut a fundamental rule in how the Clean Water Act actually 
saves our lives.
  Water is the most basic element for how we survive as a species. The 
Clean Water Act was passed because rivers were on fire. In fact, in 
some of the districts of our Members--who are actually sponsoring this 
bill--toxic waste and sewage was filling the waterways of these very 
districts, where children were being poisoned by toxins that were being 
put in the rivers. Yet, here we are voting for a measure that would 
leave massive swaths of our waterways exposed, particularly in New 
Mexico. We are talking about raw sewage, farm waste, and chemicals 
being dumped in our arroyos and our wetlands.
  Let me ask the American people: Is this what you want this body to be 
working on, gutting the most basic foundation of the protection of our 
public health and our environment? No, the American people want clean 
water. They want us to protect our streams and rivers. They want us to 
protect our farmers and ranchers. They want us to protect their 
families and their children.
  We cannot go back decades, as this measure would take us back, and we 
cannot gut this fundamental, underlying environmental law that protects 
the health and safety of our communities.
  So wherever you live, whoever you represent, whatever you fight for, 
know what this bill is actually about.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote with clean water and vote 
against this measure.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Williams), the chairman of the Small Business 
  Mr. WILLIAMS of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the 
resolution to repeal the Biden administration's waters of the United 
States rule.
  Since President Biden was sworn into office, the regulatory actions 
of his administration have cost the private sector nearly $360 billion 
in compliance costs and an estimated 220 million man-hours in new 
paperwork requirements. Later this month, when this rule is finalized, 
these numbers will get even higher.
  Yesterday, the Committee on Small Business held a hearing to speak 
directly with the people who are going to be affected by this damaging 
regulation. We heard from Ms. Katherine English of Florida, who became 
a water attorney to ensure her family farm that has been in operation 
for over 100 years, could continue to thrive. She told us that this 
rule is so complicated that she will not know if even simple land 
adjustments on her own private property would open her up to fines from 
the Federal Government.
  We also heard from Mr. Frank Murphy, from the great State of Texas, 
who develops real estate. He shared that this new rule will cause him 
to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in redundant environmental 
reviews and could delay many projects indefinitely.
  For any business, certainty is key, and unfortunately, this rule is 
leaving many people in the dark on if they will be in compliance with 
the new regulations.
  I support this resolution because it is giving a voice to the small 
businesses that have been ignored by the unelected bureaucrats at the 
EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. That is why this resolution is 
supported by over 100 business groups. Congress must act and listen to 
the voices of Main Street America on how this regulation will kill jobs 
and damage the American economy.
  In God we trust.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a list 
of 91 organizations in opposition to H.J. Res. 27 and an open letter to 
Congress from the Environmental Protection Network in opposition to 
H.J. Res. 27.

Organizations in Opposition to H.J. Res. 27, Resolution of Disapproval 
                 of Biden Clean Water Restoration Rule

       350.org, A Community Voice, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Alaska 
     Community Action on Toxics, Alliance for the Great Lakes, 
     Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, American 
     Geophysical Union, American Public Health Association, 
     American Rivers, American Sustainable Business Network, 
     Amigos Bravos, Anthropocene Alliance, Appalachian Trail 
     Conservancy, Associacion de Residentes de La Margaita, Inc., 
     Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Black Millennials 4 Flint, Cahaba 
     River Society, California Environmental Voters, Center for 
     Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental 
     Transformation, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Children's 
     Environmental Health Network, Clean Water Action.
       Clean, Healthy, Educated, Safe & Sustainable Community, 
     Inc., Coalition for Wetlands and Forests, Committee on the 
     Middle Fork Vermilion River, Community In-Power and 
     Development Association Inc. (CIDA Inc.), Concerned Citizens 
     for Nuclear Safety, Concerned Citizens of Cook County 
     (Georgia), Conservation Alabama, Earthjustice, Environment 
     America, Environment Texas, Environmental Law & Policy 
     Center, Environmental Working Group, For Love of Water 
     (FLOW), FreshWater Accountability Project, Freshwater Future, 
     Friends of Buckingham, Friends of the Mississippi River, Gila 
     Resources Information Project, Greater Edwards Aquifer 
     Alliance, Greater Neighborhood Alliance of Jersey City, NJ, 
     GreenLatinos, Groundswell Charleston SC.
       Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition, Healthy Gulf, Hispanic 
     Federation, Idaho Rivers United, Illinois Council of Trout 
     Unlimited, Izaak Walton League of America, Lake Pepin Legacy 
     Alliance, Lawyers for Good Government (L4GG), League of 
     Conservation Voters, Lynn Canal Conservation, Maine 
     Conservation Voters, Malach Consulting, Michigan League of 
     Conservation Voters, Milton's Concerned Citizens, Mississippi 
     River Collaborative, Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper, Montana 
     Conservation Voters, MS Communities United for Prosperity 
     (MCUP), National Parks Conservation Association, National 
     Wildlife Federation, Natural Heritage Institute, Natural 
     Resources Defense Council, NC League of Conservation Voters.
       New Mexico Climate Justice, New Mexico Environmental Law 
     Center, New York League of Conservation Voters, Northeastern 
     Minnesotans for Wilderness, Ohio River Foundation, Patagonia 
     Area Resource Alliance, PES, Rapid Creek Watershed Action, 
     Renewal of Life Trust, River Network, Save the Illinois 
     River, Inc., STIR, Serene Wildlife Sanctuary LLC, Sierra 
     Club, Southern Environmental Law Center, Surfrider 
     Foundation, The Clinch Coalition, The Water Collaborative of 
     Greater New Orleans, Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed 
     Partnership, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, 
     Washington Conservation Action, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, 
     Weequahic Park Association, Winyah Rivers Alliance.

                             Environmental Protection Network,

                                                    March 2, 2023.

 Open Letter to Congress on Congressional Review of the Waters of the 
                           United States Rule

       Dear Member of Congress: As alumni of the Environmental 
     Protection Agency (EPA), we are writing to share our 
     perspectives on congressional review of the Clean Water Act 
     ``Waters of the United States'' rule. The Environmental 
     Protection Network (EPN) taps the bipartisan expertise of 
     more than 550 former EPA staff who volunteer their unique 
     perspectives as scientists and former regulators, permit 
     issuers, and grant providers with decades of historical 
     knowledge and subject matter expertise.

      A Constructive Framework for Assessing EPA Rules Using the 
                        Congressional Review Act

       Congress has an important responsibility to ensure that EPA 
     and other federal agencies are faithful to congressional 

[[Page H1224]]

     when issuing rules. Congress' congressional review 
     responsibilities are laid out in law, commonly referred to as 
     the ``Congressional Review Act'' (CRA).
       Rulemaking, when done appropriately, is a methodical 
     process built upon deep understanding of complex and 
     technical information and informed by a wide range of 
     stakeholders with different perspectives. The bipartisan 
     drafters of the CRA recognized the vital roles agencies play 
     in implementing laws, and they strove to strike a balance 
     between ``reclaiming for Congress some of its policymaking 
     authority, without at the same time requiring Congress to 
     become a super regulatory agency.''
       The drafters of the CRA shined a light on how to navigate 
     this balance, recommending that Congress intervene where 
     rules are ``surprisingly different from the expectations of 
     Congress or the public.''
       In addition to avoiding taking on the role of ``super 
     regulatory agency,'' Congress must consider the full 
     ramifications of a resolution of disapproval, which prohibits 
     agencies from taking substantially similar action. The CRA 
     acts like a sledgehammer, not a scalpel. A CRA disapproval 
     resolution can leave a chaotic tangle of regulatory 
     uncertainty and confusion in its wake, resulting in 
     significant harm to the public, regulated entities, and the 
     environment. According to the Congressional Research Service, 
     Congressional disapproval:
       ``creates uncertainty and could restrict the agency's 
     ability to act going forward. This can potentially create a 
     difficult situation for an agency if Congress uses the CRA to 
     disapprove rules that were specifically required by law . . 
       Historically, members of Congress from both parties have 
     cited the ``bluntness'' of the CRA tool as the reason they 
     rejected congressional disapproval even when they did not 
     agree with the underlying rule.
       EPN suggests a constructive framework of four key questions 
     that Congress should consider when determining whether a rule 
     is ``surprisingly different from the expectations of 
     Congress,'' without venturing into the territory of becoming 
     a ``super regulatory agency'':
       1. Follow the Law: Did the agency follow the law, as 
     directed by Congress and the courts?
       2. Follow the Science: Did the agency follow the science, 
     including adequately explaining its factual basis and 
       3. Listen to Stakeholders: Did the agency meaningfully 
     engage with and respond to all major stakeholders, taking 
     different perspectives meaningfully into account?
       4. Do No Harm: Would congressional disapproval worsen or 
     improve outcomes for public health, the environment, and 
     stakeholders, including regulated entities?
       In pursuing this framework, members of Congress can provide 
     meaningful oversight of actions, while minimizing the harm 
     created by the CRA. In today's climate, with cyclical swings 
     of the political pendulum, there is already significant 
     regulatory whiplash and chaos. Congress should do everything 
     in its power to lessen this confusion, not add to it.

     Applying the Framework to the Waters of the United States Rule

       EPN believes that Congress should support the ``Revised 
     Definition of `Waters of the United States' '' rule published 
     by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on January 18, 2023. 
     This rule protects waters that are critical to the health and 
     welfare of the American people. The rule is not 
     ``surprisingly different from the expectations of Congress or 
     the public.'' In fact, the rule conforms to the Supreme 
     Court's instructions and largely reverts to the long-existing 
     rule that pre-dates the regulatory confusion that has 
     prevailed for too long.
       Further, a congressional resolution of disapproval in this 
     case risks a prolonged and perhaps permanent state of 
     regulatory confusion that will create more uncertainty for 
     landowners and others who deserve clear answers on how to 
     comply with the Clean Water Act.
       A thoughtful exploration of the four framing CRA questions 
     we pose above will demonstrate that EPA has in fact done its 
     job and done it well.
       (1) EPA Followed the Law: The rule is consistent with the 
     objectives of the federal Clean Water Act to ``restore and 
     maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of 
     the nation's waters,'' which are largely interconnected and 
     which flow over and between state lines. The agencies are 
     interpreting ``waters of the United States'' to mean the 
     waters defined by the familiar pre-2015 regulations, with 
     amendments to reflect the agencies' determination of the 
     statutory limits on the scope informed by Supreme Court 
     precedent, the best available science, and the agencies' 
     experience and technical expertise. In response to both the 
     case law and the science, the 2023 rule only includes 
     upstream waters and wetlands as waters of the U.S. when they 
     significantly affect the integrity of waters for which 
     federal interest is indisputable (traditional navigable 
     waters, territorial seas, and interstate waters).
       EPA has also clearly recognized Supreme Court precedent, 
     which, of course, could change with the expected decision in 
     Sackett v. United States.
       (2) EPA Followed the Science: The agency incorporates well-
     established science and protects waters that are critical to 
     the health and welfare of the American people, particularly 
     given the extreme weather challenges from climate change and 
     the disproportionate impact on environmental justice 
     communities. For the first time, the 2023 rule provides a 
     detailed definition of the functions that must be assessed 
     and the specific factors that must be considered in 
     determining whether a water has a significant nexus to a 
     water for which federal interest is indisputable. This 
     definition is well supported by scientific evidence and is 
     consistent with the factors the Supreme Court recently 
     identified as critical for determining whether a discharge is 
     jurisdictional in Country of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife 
       (3) EPA Responded to Stakeholders Concerns: EPA is to be 
     commended on a particularly thorough and far-reaching 
     stakeholder engagement process, ultimately choosing a middle 
     road that supports public health, environmental protection, 
     agricultural activity, and economic growth. It covers less 
     than the Obama administration proposed in 2015 but more than 
     the Trump administration's rule. The agency conducted 
     regional roundtables throughout the country, as well as 
     solicited input from small businesses, tribes, and the public 
     through multiple channels. In response to farmers concerns, 
     the 2023 rule expands the number of waters exempted from CWA 
     jurisdiction, exempting certain types of ditches, irrigated 
     areas, farm ponds, and water-filled depressions in dry land, 
     and erosional features such as gullies and rills.
       (4) Congressional Disapproval Would Create a Chaotic Mess: 
     A congressional vote of disapproval would create prolonged 
     uncertainty and confusion for stakeholders that need to know 
     what waters are protected by the Clean Water Act. Such an 
     action would also endanger the drinking water, fisheries, and 
     flood control for communities throughout the nation.
       Congress should support this rulemaking process as it moves 
     through the courts, and refrain from adding more confusion to 
     the situation. Allowing EPA and the Army Corps to complete 
     their job as defined in the law and overseen by the courts 
     will create the kind of clarity stakeholders need.
       We are happy to make EPN experts available to you to 
     discuss this further.

                                                Michelle Roos,

                                               Executive Director,
                                 Environmental Protection Network.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from California (Mrs. Napolitano), the ranking member of 
the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee.
  Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in very strong opposition to 
this resolution of disapproval.
  Clean water was not always a partisan issue, and no issue has more 
support among American families than the protection of our Nation's 
waters. Now is the worst time to lower our guard on protecting clean 
water as over half of the United States is experiencing drought 
conditions. Even though we have had rain, we are still in drought 
conditions. We need to be doing everything to ensure our cities, our 
businesses, and our farmers have sufficient, safe, and sustainable 
supplies of water to meet our economic and agricultural needs, our 
quality-of-life needs, and our day-to-day survival.
  This is especially true in my home State of California. As the 
Metropolitan Water District, the biggest in the area, commented at our 
subcommittee last month, the definition of WOTUS is central to the 
Clean Water Act's implementation and has significant implications for 
water agencies' day-to-day operations and for water source protection 
  That is why I support the efforts of the Biden administration to 
permanently repeal the previous administration's dirty water rule, a 
rule that eliminated Federal protections on a minimum of 75 percent of 
streams and wetlands that have been protected by the act since its 
  These waters and the wetlands are critical to capturing and storing 
rain and snowmelt to ensure the long-term supply of water and recharge 
our underground water aquifers.
  Mr. Speaker, I cannot understand how this resolution, which seeks to 
undermine and confuse agency efforts to protect our clean water, makes 
any sense to my constituents who are already making sacrifices to 
protect our local waters.
  This resolution would increase levels of pollution in our 
waterbodies, increase risk of downstream flooding, and make it harder 
for communities like mine to maintain sustainable sources of drinking 
  Worst of all, hardworking American families would have to pay for the 
horrible impacts of this resolution. The Biden rule provided the best 

[[Page H1225]]

option to balance the need for protection of waters with the desire for 
familiarity and workability within the constraints of the law and 
interpretations of the Supreme Court. This resolution achieves none of 
those outcomes and is only more likely to make it worse, not better.
  Mr. Speaker, I very strongly oppose the resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, I include in the Record a Statement of Administration 
Policy from the Executive Office of the President on H.J. Res. 27, 
providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, 
United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of the 
Army, Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense and the Environmental 
Protection Agency relating to ``Revised Definition of `Waters of the 
United States.' ''

                   Statement of Administration Policy

 H.J. Res. 27--Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 
of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department 
    of the Army, Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense and the 
  Environmental Protection Agency relating to ``Revised Definition of 
`Waters of the United States' ''--Rep. Graves, R-MO, and 170 cosponsors

       The Administration strongly opposes passage of H.J. Res. 
     27, a joint resolution to disapprove ``Revised Definition of 
     `Waters of the United States' '' (``final rule''). The final 
     rule's definition of ``waters of the United States'' 
     carefully sets the bounds for what activities are regulated 
     by the federal government under the Clean Water Act. The 
     final rule provides clear rules of the road that will help 
     advance infrastructure projects, economic investments, and 
     agricultural activities--all while protecting water quality. 
     The rule reestablishes critical protections for the nation's 
     vital water resources by returning to the longstanding 1986 
     regulations with appropriate updates, exclusions, and 
     streamlining clarifications. This pre-2015 approach to 
     ``waters of the United States'' provides regulatory certainty 
     and reflects the agencies' long experience, the best 
     available science, and extensive stakeholder engagement. In 
     comparison, H.J. Res. 27 would leave Americans without a 
     clear ``waters of the United States'' definition. The 
     increased uncertainty would threaten economic growth, 
     including for agriculture, local economies, and downstream 
     communities. Farmers would be left wondering whether 
     artificially irrigated areas remain exempt or not. 
     Construction crews would be left wondering whether their 
     waterfilled gravel pits remain exempt or not. Compared to the 
     kind of uncertain, fragmented, and watered-down regulatory 
     system that H.J. Res. 27 might compel, the final rule will 
     secure substantial and valuable benefits each year in 
     critical flood protections, enhanced water quality, and the 
     treasured recreational activities--fishing, swimming, 
     boating, and more--that fill the lives and livelihoods of 
     tens of millions of U.S. households that depend on healthy 
     wetlands and streams.
       If Congress were to pass H.J. Res. 27, the President would 
     veto it.

                              {time}  1300

  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Crawford).
  Mr. CRAWFORD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak against the Biden 
administration's extreme overreach with the confusing new waters of the 
United States rule published by the EPA. This rule removes protections 
put in place by the previous administration that would protect farmers, 
ranchers, and small business owners from potential fines and even jail 
time for carrying out common practices they have done for years.
  The men and women who feed America should not have to apply for 
permits to simply remove debris from a ditch on their property or 
change the types of crops that they grow in a field. Yet, this is what 
people in my district in Arkansas and around the country will face 
under the new WOTUS rule.
  To top it all off, this rule is unclear, forcing landowners to hire 
additional help just to ensure that they are complying with this ill-
conceived rule.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to stand up to the EPA and vote to 
block this burdensome rule.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from Ohio (Mrs. Sykes).
  Mrs. SYKES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to H.J. 
Res. 27, which would nullify the rule titled: ``Revised Definition of 
`Waters of the United States.' ''
  As the vice ranking member of the Water Resources and Environment 
Subcommittee, I am extremely aware of the crucial role clean water 
plays in the success of our Nation's economy, including agriculture and 
energy development, as well as the health of our communities.
  This resolution is the latest attempt to attack longstanding critical 
safeguards for clean water with an utter disregard for the devastating 
impact this will have on hardworking American families.
  In Ohio, we have had to bear the brunt of the reckless disregard for 
safeguards that has contaminated water supplies and caused irreversible 
harm, some of which we can't even begin to quantify.
  My colleague aptly identified multiple issues and examples from Ohio 
that explain why it is necessary to protect our water, whether it is 
toxic chemicals from a train derailment; a burning lake--imagine that; 
or compromised drinking water due to algal blooms, which happened in 
northeast Ohio in our Great Lake, Lake Erie, which is a significant 
resource for us in our Ohio community. A good clean water source has 
been impacted, and many others across the country could be as well.
  Mr. Speaker, this legislation unquestionably undermines the Clean 
Water Act, and it is unnecessary and a glaring attack on future 
attempts to protect our Nation's water quality.
  When a rule is undone using the Congressional Review Act process, 
future administrations are prevented from issuing rules that are 
substantially the same, which could and very likely will undermine 
agencies in their activities to stop bad actors who pollute our 
  I understand the need for regulatory certainty, and I certainly want 
to help us achieve that. Whether it is to provide certainty for 
businesses, local governments, State governments, farmers, hunters, 
fishers, or builders, Americans deserve that certainty.
  Mr. Speaker, isn't it important to ensure that our constituents, 
including my constituents in Ohio's 13th District, have certainty when 
they turn on the tap that they are sure they are not drinking toxic 
water that may be a carcinogen that will impact their health in the 
  It is important that all people, regardless of where they live, or 
their economic standing, creed, or color, have access to clean water. 
It is how we put people above politics.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote 
``no'' emphatically.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson), the chairman of the House 
Agriculture Committee.
  Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for 
his leadership on this issue.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of today's waters of the United 
States, WOTUS, joint resolution of disapproval, and I stand in 
opposition to the Biden WOTUS, which is an attack on the Clean Water 
Act, an attack on States' rights to have oversight over non-navigable 
waters, and an attack on private property rights.
  As the chairman and former ranking member of the House Agriculture 
Committee, I have spent the last 2 years traveling to more than 40 
States to hear directly from producers about the challenges they face. 
I was proud to be with Chairman Graves in his district, where we had a 
gathering and a hearing, a listening session on this very topic--
burdensome regulations, record inflation, high input costs, the 
politicization of crop protection tools, supply chain disruptions, and 
now you can add an egregious government land grab to the list.
  Make no mistake about it, this rule isn't about clean water. It is 
about the Biden EPA's appetite for power.
  America's farmers, ranchers, and landowners deserve a WOTUS 
definition that is fair to agriculture and maintains the historical 
reach of the Clean Water Act, neither of which is accomplished by the 
Biden administration's flawed rule.
  Simply recognizing longstanding agriculture exemptions that have been 
too narrowly applied for decades does not make up for once again 
plunging our rural communities into regulatory ambiguity.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Transportation and Infrastructure Committee 
Chairman Sam Graves and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee 
Chairman   David Rouzer for leading this important effort, and I urge a 
``yes'' vote.

[[Page H1226]]


  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Beyer).
  Mr. BEYER. Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to join me in voting 
``no'' on this effort to undo the EPA's waters of the U.S. rule.

  EPA's rulemaking will simply restore the basics of what was protected 
by law for nearly 50 years before Trump's rule went into effect. It is 
an important protection to restore smart clean water protections.
  We need to step forward for clean water because over half of our 
rivers and lakes in our country are too polluted for swimming, fishing, 
or drinking. I grew up near the Potomac River, where it was dangerous 
to get into something that was so incredibly dirty.
  Americans are speaking up, and they say they want to swim and fish in 
their streams.
  This EPA rule is also a step forward to protect wetlands. Last month, 
Stanford scientists showed that our country is responsible for more 
wetland loss and degradation than any other country.
  We need to protect the wetlands that we still have left. Wetlands 
sequester carbon, which helps us in our climate change goals. Wetlands 
are a habitat that will help us stop the biodiversity crisis.
  There is also a lot of talk about stakeholders wanting certainty in 
what waters are covered. I am on board with that certainty, and the new 
rulemaking provides just that, certainty for the Americans who want 
swimmable, fishable, drinkable waters and who want a safe climate and 
thriving biodiversity.
  I had the honor of serving on the Science Committee for 8 years, and 
we heard again and again that virtually all scientists believe that 
water is the absolutely most essential requirement for life. Yet, we 
want to gut the most important rule to protect our water.
  Undoing the waters of the U.S. rule is a step backward. For all 
Americans who want the certainty of a safe climate and clean water for 
the future, I have to vote ``no.''
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. LaHood).
  Mr. LaHOOD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Missouri for yielding 
and for his leadership on the Transportation and Infrastructure 
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.J. Res. 27, providing for 
congressional disapproval of the Army Corps of Engineers' and the EPA's 
rule expanding the definition of waters of the United States.
  This rule is one of the latest examples of regulatory overreach that 
the Biden administration has chosen to pursue, ignoring Congress' role 
in making policy decisions and vastly increasing Federal authority over 
private lands.
  Expanding the WOTUS definition creates harmful uncertainty and 
increased administrative burdens for many parts of our economy, 
especially our farmers and agriculture sector.
  On top of having to endure the effects of high inflation, supply 
chain disruptions, and labor shortages, farmers in my district and 
across the country now have to invest more time and money on compliance 
costs to protect themselves against potentially crippling legal 
  Between President Biden's attempts to repeal stepped-up basis, the 
SEC's onerous ESG proposal, and now this WOTUS rule issued by the Army 
Corps of Engineers and EPA, it is clear that family farms and small 
businesses are not being prioritized or heard by this administration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 30 seconds 
to the gentleman from Illinois.
  Mr. LaHOOD. Mr. Speaker, as the Representative of one of the largest 
corn- and soybean-producing districts in the country, I understand the 
importance our farmers have in feeding our Nation and the world. Our 
farm economy is the lifeblood of rural communities, and this resolution 
is a necessary first step in supporting our farmers and small 
  Mr. Speaker, I urge adoption of the resolution.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez).
  Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to this 
  For 50 years, the Clean Water Act has safeguarded our rivers, 
streams, and wetlands from pollution and degradation. Before the 
passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, New York City dumped millions 
of gallons of raw sewage and trash into the East River every day. 
Today, thanks to the CWA, we have made significant progress cleaning up 
the East River and the Hudson, so much so that marine life, like the 
humpback whale and dolphins, have been spotted in recent years.
  This environmental progress is not unique to New York. Communities 
across the country have experienced the benefits of cleaner water, but 
the advantages of the CWA aren't limited to the environment. The law 
has also helped our economy.
  Yesterday, during a Small Business Committee hearing on this topic, 
the owner of a South Carolina seafood company testified on the 
fundamental importance of clean water to his business. Robust Federal 
protection for clean water is a prerequisite for the success of 
businesses in a range of industries all across our country.

  Despite this, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to 
allow industries to pollute our waters while shifting the cost of 
pollution to families, businesses, and communities downstream. They 
want to continue Trump administration policies that significantly 
limited Federal protections for clean water by excluding safeguards for 
many wetlands and streams.
  Mr. Speaker, that is why I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this 
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Van Orden).
  Mr. VAN ORDEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to the 
Biden administration's rule defining the waters of the United States, 
  I am not going to mince words. These proposed changes would be more 
aptly named ``WOKEUS,'' as they are confusing, partially nonsensical, 
not based in science, and will cause many unintended consequences that 
the Biden administration has clearly not contemplated.
  Under this new rule, over 85 percent of the waterways in Wisconsin's 
Third District would be subject to EPA regulation. In many places, 
these rule changes will actually harm the environment, as many of the 
farmers in my district are pioneers in environmental stewardship.
  They have dug retention ponds that collect agricultural runoff, and 
then the nitrates and phosphates settle to the bottom. They recycle the 
water and these important nutrients, which actually lowers the costs 
and prevents them from entering the watersheds in the Mississippi 
  If this ``WOKEUS'' goes into effect, these revolutionary farming 
practices will stop and these agricultural byproducts will wind up in 
our actual navigable waterways. Then what will the Biden administration 
propose doing? Fining our farmers, putting them out of business, and 
increasing the food costs that are already out of control due to the 
out-of-control spending of the Biden administration.
  Mr. Speaker, I stand with the farmers, and they stand in support of 
the CRA. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand with 

                              {time}  1315

  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire how much time is 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Missouri has 20 minutes 
remaining. The gentleman from Washington has 13 minutes remaining.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from Wyoming (Ms. Hageman).
  Ms. HAGEMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the House resolution.
  As a water attorney and a natural resource attorney, I have fought 
for over 25 years to protect water and property rights and to stop the 
unlawful rules enacted by our Federal Government. In Congress I am 
continuing that fight.
  The Feds have far exceeded their authority under the Clean Water Act 
and have expanded on the scope and intent of the original law by 
redefining what is a navigable water of the United

[[Page H1227]]

States. This rescinds the recent changes made under the Trump 
administration that actually carried out the intent of the Clean Water 
Act, and the increasing regulation of both land and waters must be 
  In many instances, these new and punitive regulations are a de facto 
taking of private property. Wyoming farmers, ranchers, builders, energy 
producers, and small business owners, among others across the State, 
would suffer significantly if these changes to the navigable waters of 
the United States definition were enacted.
  This is just one more example of an out-of-control and unelected 
Washington bureaucracy intruding into our personal lives and seeking to 
destroy our property rights.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support today's disapproval vote 
and protect Americans from the ridiculous government overreach these 
WOTUS revisions would enable.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Perry).
  Mr. PERRY. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Graves for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a case of no good deed goes unpunished.
  Now, the ranking member, a good gentleman, and I can agree that we 
all want clean water. But this is just simply a Federal Government 
overreach. That is all it is. And, oh, by the way, I will remind 
everybody that it is only 2 months ago my friends on the other side of 
the aisle controlled this body, the other body, and the Presidency.
  If they wanted to pass a law, then why didn't they?
  It is because they can't pass a law.
  This isn't about the Clean Water Act because the Clean Water Act 
still exists. This is about a rule made by bureaucrats down the street 
to control the water in your backyard.
  Mr. Speaker, if you have a child's swing set where they have hollowed 
out underneath the swing set, don't you dare fill it in, otherwise 
severe penalties--criminal imprisonment--can be imposed on you.
  This is absolutely outrageous, unnecessary, and must be stopped.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  I just want to make a note that the argument that this is like a 
taking does not hold any water--excuse the pun--because a 1992 case in 
the Supreme Court determined that rules like this actually do not 
qualify as a taking under the U.S. Constitution or under U.S. law.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Duarte).
  Mr. DUARTE. We need to protect wetlands, and we need to protect the 
clean water supply we enjoy here in America.
  The Supreme Court has been dealing with this for years, and if we 
don't get it right here and keep the agencies honest, we are going to 
have real food shortages on our hands.
  I am a farmer who was prosecuted under the Clean Water Act for 
growing wheat in a wheat field where I had planted wheat many times 
  This right here--I want to make sure the whole Chamber can see it--
look hard. This little light spot in the field is a jurisdictional 
wetland under some definitions of the Clean Water Act. That is not a 
navigable water. There are no frogs, no fish, no storks, no egrets, and 
no water.
  Under the Biden rule, the surrounding grasslands--all the surrounding 
grasslands there, not the electrical tower in the back, that has other 
regulatory problems--those are jurisdictional wetlands under the Biden 
  They prosecuted me as a farmer for farming wheat in a wheat field 
which had been farmed many, many times before, and they threatened to 
fine me $28 to $40 million for tilling through 22 acres of wetlands 
such as this across a 450-acre wheat field.
  This is what we are talking about. We don't have to talk about 
burning rivers or poisonous water. This is the land grab, this is the 
authority, and this is the threat to the American food system that we 
are talking about.
  Right over there, that is a government expert team paid for by your 
Department of Justice--our Department of Justice--sitting in a 3-foot 
hole investigating my 4- to 7-inch tillage through a vernal pool. Ten 
government investigators were on my property for 10 days producing over 
a $1-million report.
  The smallest of these wetlands--of these vernal pools--was 16 square 
feet. Think of the card table you may have sat at as a kid during 
Thanksgiving, Mr. Speaker. That was deemed a jurisdictional wetland.
  This is a direct attack on our farming and our food supply. Please 
don't understand it as anything different.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume just to go back to an argument a previous speaker made 
about the Democrats having the majority in the House, the Senate, and 
the Presidency.

  It also should be on the Record that the other side of the aisle had 
the majority in the House, the Senate, and the Presidency in 2017 and 
2018 and also did nothing on this rule. It wasn't important enough for 
them to do anything.
  Then the President's rule at the time moved forward, and it was 
tossed by two different courts. It was rejected by the courts, which 
leaves us in this position where we are today of playing ping-pong with 
the waters of the U.S. rule.
  Our argument today is: Let's bring certainty to the Clean Water Act, 
bring certainty to the waters of the U.S., reject H.J. Res. 27, and 
move forward with the existing rule from the current administration.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. LaMalfa).
  Mr. LaMALFA. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding me time.
  My colleagues again are here to talk about something that has been 
over and over again changed with the whim of every administration it 
seems. I have been here 10 years, and every new Congress there is a 
different enforcement. The law keeps getting changed. There is no 
  So how are we supposed to farm and grow the crops that people depend 
on in this country?
  I am glad I got to follow Mr. Duarte because his operation is 
actually in my district up there where that went on. We tried to 
convince them at EPA and Army Corps of Engineers that farming is a 
normal activity.
  I get my colleagues on the other side of the aisle when they start 
talking about rivers on fire and things like that.
  This is normal farming. The way we are going here, we will not have 
these crops that Americans depend on, especially coming from 
  So the definition that is being put forward by the Biden 
administration is something that is undoing what the Trump 
administration had trying to bring it back to reasonable.
  The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 and signed by President Nixon 
with bipartisan effort. Every 50 years or so we have to go back and see 
what is going on with oversight, and this isn't working. It is not 
working at all because it was never intended by Congress to limit 
farming and to take away the farming of food, which is what is going on 
with this act.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Mann).
  Mr. MANN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Graves for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, agricultural producers have been forced to operate their 
businesses under three different definitions of water in the last 10 
years, and this most recent rule removes longstanding bipartisan 
exemptions for common water features like ponds and streams found on 
family farms and other private property.
  With this vote, Congress has a golden opportunity to stand up not 
only for people who feed, fuel, and clothe us all, but also for all 
Americans whose businesses and private lives will be affected by this 
Big Government encroachment onto their property.
  While President Biden would like to federally regulate every small 
stream, ditch, and puddle from sea to shining

[[Page H1228]]

sea, American producers have been the careful custodians of their own 
resources for centuries. They are the original conservationists, and 
their livelihoods already depend on their voluntary efforts to care for 
their water resources.
  How we vote today will speak volumes. We can either tell Americans 
that we believe the Federal Government knows best, or we can tell them 
that the Federal Government should get out of their way and let them do 
what they do best. I know where I stand.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear that I do agree with some of the 
comments made by the previous speaker that this has been a ping-pong 
match among administrations over the last 10 years where all Americans 
have lived under various definitions of this rule.
  I, too, want to end that ping-pong match which is why I am calling on 
the House of Representatives to vote ``no'' on this resolution and get 
on with the certainty that the current administration's rule provides.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Williams).
  Mr. WILLIAMS of New York. Mr. Speaker, this picture accurately 
captures the administration's definition of a navigable waterway. This 
child playing with a paper boat in a puddle created by a rainstorm 
would be subject to the almost comical definition of navigable 
waterways this bill would amend.
  This child's family--if they had saved enough money to build their 
first home on this site with this rain puddle--could find themselves at 
the mercy of the impersonal, bureaucratic, and deliberately ambiguous 
rules of the EPA. Very quickly, this child's family would be drowned by 
the costs, paperwork, and Byzantine rules of a faceless bureaucracy.
  Stop using EPA bureaucrats as agents against the American people: 
homeowners, small business owners, farmers, rural communities, and many 
others. These WOTUS rules are designed to give nearly unlimited power 
to EPA field agents to further control our delicate economy.
  Nobel Prize-winner humanitarian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a victim of 
the cruel Soviet system, warned us with these words: ``Unlimited power 
in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty.''
  Protect American families and support this bill.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Washington (Mr. Newhouse), who is the chairman of the 
Congressional Western Caucus.
  Mr. NEWHOUSE. Mr. Speaker, I am a third-generation hop and grape 
farmer from the State of Washington. Being a good steward of the 
environment has always been important to me, my family, and my 
  For generations, farmers and ranchers across the United States have 
understood that in order to continue their important job of feeding the 
world, we must work together to protect our clean water and conserve 
our most precious natural resources.
  And it has been to the great success. Our Nation's agricultural 
community has voluntarily innovated over the years, finding ways to use 
significantly less pesticides and fertilizers to grow even more food.
  Yet, the administration has ignored all those facts and instead is 
coming after our private property rights with their waters of the 
United States rule.
  WOTUS is nothing more than a power grab which would impose tighter 
controls over the waters the Clean Water Act never intended to 
  Let's be clear: WOTUS isn't just a logistical nightmare that has 
plagued landowners, businesses, farmers, ranchers, and rural 
communities across the country for years; it controls what people can 
build or plant in and around streams, ponds, and irrigation ditches in 
the middle of cropland giving the EPA unprecedented say over what 
people can do or can't do with their land, and it calls into question 
whether farmers could even begin to work their land.
  This impacts our food supply, our housing industry, and many aspects 
that have already been severely challenged by the administration's 
overreaching policies.
  This rule is not about clean water. Rural communities in the West and 
across the country like central Washington are dedicated to clean 
water, and they are the ones being punished by the continuing legal 
uncertainty that this new final rule brings.
  As chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus, a bipartisan group 
of nearly 100 Members who advocate for property rights and clean water, 
I have consistently called on the administration to provide that 
certainty that we all want.
  In fact, we have led over 200 Members in a letter urging the 
administration to do just that.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on this resolution, 
push back on this administration's egregious overreach, and fight for 
our food supply.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  This debate we are having today is only about clean water, and we 
need to put people and clean water above pollution. The administration 
has a rule that provides certainty, and we should move forward on that. 
But this debate is about clean water.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1330

  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Stauber).
  Mr. STAUBER. Mr. Speaker, for the sake of not belaboring the great 
points already made by my colleagues here today, I will keep this 
  The Biden administration's WOTUS rule creates a regulatory headache 
for economic drivers like farmers, ranchers, small business owners, 
manufacturers, miners, and more. Similar to the old Obama 
administration WOTUS rule, this new rule is a gift to lawyers and 
  All this rule does is give D.C. bureaucrats a chance to trade in 
their dress shoes for their never-worn cowboy boots, step over a few 
puddles and call them navigable waters, and upend the lives of rural 
  Time and time again, the Biden administration creates hardships for 
the constituents I represent. Unfortunately, I expect no less from this 
activist administration. It is clear that they do not consider rural 
America a priority.
  Mr. Speaker, I support passage of this CRA to nullify the 
``sumbumcheous,'' devastating Biden administration WOTUS rule.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I do have to address the comment about who cares about 
rural America. I am not making an argument today that any one party or 
any one person cares more about rural America.
  However, if we are going to support rural America, keep implementing 
the bipartisan infrastructure law, which puts $65 billion into 
broadband, including billions of dollars to expand broadband into rural 
areas--something happening in my State and States around the country.
  Pass comprehensive immigration reform so there is a supply of workers 
in this country, including farmworkers.
  Open up trade agreements. Open up trade for agriculture, including ag 
in my State, in my own district for the milk producers, the potato 
producers, the raspberry and blueberry producers, who are exporting 
product all over the country.
  That is what it means--at least on my side of the State--to support 
rural America.
  I support rural America, and a lot of folks in this Chamber on both 
sides support our farmers and rural America. Let's take action to do 
just that.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentlewoman from Colorado (Mrs. Boebert).
  Mrs. BOEBERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in favor of H.J. Res. 27. This 
resolution will overturn Joe Biden's latest attempt to expand the 
Federal Government's jurisdiction and regulate every aspect of our 

[[Page H1229]]

  The decision to return to the 2015 WOTUS rule puts burdensome 
regulations that will devastate small businesses, manufacturers, 
farmers, home and infrastructure builders, local communities, water 
districts, and everyday Americans across my district in Colorado and 
the entire country.
  In short, the EPA's job-killing WOTUS regulation expands Washington 
bureaucrats' jurisdiction over ditches and navigable waters, 
threatening property rights and water rights for our communities. Rural 
Colorado runs on water, and this unconstitutional regulation will harm 
our way of life.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague and chairman of the House 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Sam Graves, for his great 
work to protect private water rights. We all want clean air, we all 
want clean water, and we know that we do it right without bureaucrats 
getting in our way. I support this legislation.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my 
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Burlison).
  Mr. BURLISON. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Graves for his amazing 
leadership on this important topic.
  The arrogance of liberal bureaucrats knows no bounds. When we think 
that they cannot go any further, they decide that they can regulate the 
rain that falls from the sky.
  The waters of the U.S. regulation will cost our citizens, especially 
farmers in my State of Missouri, who, on average, own 300 acres, which 
is mostly small farms, it will saddle them with red tape.
  Of course, we know why the Biden administration is imposing this on 
our citizens and our farmers. The administration is not at all 
interested in helping the average American farmer or supporting them. 
They are more interested in appealing to the radical environmentalists 
that want to control our lives.
  Farmers have been hit hard with fuel costs, fertilizer costs, and 
supply chain challenges recently. The last thing they need is this. The 
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers should rescind this rule and leave 
our farmers alone.
  Mr. Speaker, as a cosponsor of this resolution, I fully support it 
and urge my colleagues to pass it.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Meuser).
  Mr. MEUSER. Mr. Speaker, we are hearing about the issues that farmers 
face. I have 8,000 farmers in my district. Workforce, we hear about 
comprehensive illegal immigration reform, yes, indeed. But, Mr. 
Speaker, border security first. Border security first, then we can help 
our farmers and others with comprehensive illegal immigration reform. 
That never seems to be on the table. Rural broadband, absolutely. We 
have been talking about it for far too long, and it is way late in 
  Mr. Speaker, this WOTUS, waters of the U.S., never have I heard such 
a clamor from my farmers. This is such an insult, and it shows just 
simply how out of touch those that would propose something like this 
are when it is related to my farmers and the farmers throughout the 
United States.
  Mr. Speaker, we know that every day farmers live in an uncertain 
climate, to say the least, to say it literally. The Biden 
administration's proposal here is a far, far more burdensome regulation 
that will create a higher level of uncertainty, increase compliance 
costs for farmers during a time that costs are escalating.

  This rule will literally lead to puddles and ditches on farmers' 
property being regulated under the Clean Water Act. Temporary puddles, 
temporary wetlands that evaporate in a few days they could be 
responsible for, very often when it is miles away from navigable 
  If this rule goes into effect, small businesses--and landowners as 
well--will be forced to spend thousands of dollars on consultants and 
lawyers to determine if they need a Federal permit on their own land or 
risk expensive penalties or even jail time.
  The Supreme Court will be hearing this case soon. They will certainly 
reverse any rule made. No WOTUS before SCOTUS.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I will note that in the current administration's rule 
the agencies added six additional exclusions to the regulatory text for 
generally nonjurisdictional features under the pre-2015 regulatory 
effort and continues the agencies' two longstanding exclusions for 
wastewater treatment systems and prior converted farmland.
  In addition, the final rule continues the agencies' longstanding 
regulatory definition of wetlands, as well. Now, that changed a 
longstanding definition of wetlands, something that again adds to the 
certainty of the rule as well as with the six additional exclusions 
creates more exclusions than in the Bush-era rule.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Brecheen).
  Mr. BRECHEEN. Mr. Speaker, Article I, Section 1 of the United States 
Constitution says that all legislative powers are to be vested in the 
Congress. In the Congress, not the President.
  The Biden administration's WOTUS rule is a perfect example of the 
administration usurping the authority, the supremacy of the United 
States Constitution.
  This rule impacts private property, small business, farmers, 
ranchers, including Jess Kane--I just got off the phone with him 20 
minutes ago. Jess has a ranch south of Bartlesville, and he has about a 
thousand acres in a floodplain. He is concerned about his ranch and how 
this rule of the President will impact his ability to do what he has 
always done and be able to manage a cow-calf operation.
  Regulatory costs are a hidden tax and are now expected to be at least 
$2 trillion, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. If you 
think of regulation as a tax, it comes out to more than $14,000 per 
family. It is a hidden tax, $14,000 per family, because of the 
regulatory state.
  Congress has the authority and duty to rein this in. We must inject 
common sense, horse sense for our farmers, ranchers, small businesses, 
and private property owners when the Presidency is going the opposite 
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on H.J. Res. 27 and 
overturn the WOTUS rule.
  Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of 
my time to close.
  Last year, this Congress came together to provide historic 
investments in our Nation's infrastructure through the bipartisan 
infrastructure law, providing communities with almost $13 billion in 
clean water infrastructure upgrades and creating jobs.
  These clean water investments help areas like Skagit County, where I 
am from, which has used the Clean Water State Revolving Fund money to 
protect the water quality of Gilligan Creek, the drinking water source 
for many in that county.
  Every day, more and more American families are realizing the public 
health, economic, and environmental benefits of the bipartisan 
infrastructure law, benefits that will continue as additional BIL 
resources are made available and implemented across the country.
  The BIL is what Congress can do at its best. This resolution is not.
  This resolution provides no benefits to public health. It seeks to 
eliminate protections for rivers, streams, and wetlands, many of which 
serve as a source of drinking water for hundreds of millions of 
  This resolution provides no benefits to our economy as a whole. It 
not only casts aside a time-tested, scientifically based tool to 
implement the Clean Water Act, but then further blocks the Corps of 
Engineers and the EPA from providing any additional clarity to 
businesses, farmers, and homebuilders going forward.
  In short, this resolution is a recipe for uncertainty, for 
litigation, for continued gridlock, the very things that my friends on 
the other side of the aisle are really trying to avoid, as we are as 

[[Page H1230]]

  This resolution is a step backward for clean water. It is a step 
backward for certainty. I urge my colleagues to see this resolution for 
what it is. It is not for clean water. It is an attack on our clean 
water future. It fails to provide clarity. It fails to provide 
consistency for our businesses, our farmers, and for many in our 
communities who rely on clean water who are not businesses, who are not 
farmers, who are not ranchers. Many of those folks look to Congress to 
ensure clean water, as well.
  Mr. Speaker, I am urging my colleagues to vote ``no'' on H.J. Res. 
27, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my 
  Mr. Speaker, in closing, while the Clean Water Act has greatly 
improved the health of our Nation's waters, expansive interpretations 
of it have also led to a whole lot of uncertainty in the 50 years since 
it was passed, specifically when it comes to the definition of WOTUS.
  Mr. Speaker, the Biden administration may think that they can get 
away with this overbearing WOTUS rule and dramatic, dramatic expansion 
of Federal authority, but we have to ensure that everyday Americans are 
not subject to this outrageous government power grab, and that is what 
it is.
  Let's keep flawed Federal overreach out of the government by passing 
H.J. Res. 27.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge support of the resolution, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, serving in Ohio's 9th district, and as the 
leading Democrat and Ranking Member on the Appropriations Subcommittee 
on Energy and Water Development, I am keenly aware that clean and 
abundant water resources are vital for the success of our nation's 
economy and the health of our communities. The Great Lakes region which 
I proudly represent and champion provides drinking water for more than 
40 million people and supports a $6 trillion economy. Before us is H.J. 
Res. 27, another desperate attempt to weaken the Clean Water Act. After 
decades of reckless pollution, a fire on the Cuyahoga River in 
Cleveland, OH helped spark an environmental movement that brought us to 
the passage of the visionary Clean Water Act in 1972. The 50-year 
legacy of the CWA is a testament to the power of bipartisan legislation 
that prioritizes people and communities. If successful, H.J. Res. 27. 
would return us to a patchwork strategy of water management that 
existed prior to 1972.
  H.J. Res. 27 is yet another example of partisan politics that do 
nothing for constituents in my district in Toledo and along Lake Erie--
or our neighbors throughout the Great Lakes region. Instead, this 
resolution undermines long-standing guidance that protects our waters. 
This resolution eliminates existing clarity and certainty that 
businesses, developers, and farmers rely on, and it creates the 
opportunity for our waterways to return to serving only as waste 
receptacles. Even with a strong Clean Water Act, much remains to be 
done to ensure clean drinking water for all; the 2014 Toledo water 
crisis was the direct result of toxins in the water. Further eroding 
our ability to protect our waters is a disservice to everyone. Today, I 
will vote no on H.J. Res. 27 because protecting our Great Lakes is a 
priority, and I strongly encourage my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle to do the same, so that our waterways can be protected for future 
generations to come.
  Mrs. DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition of H.J. Res. 27, 
which would roll back important clean water protections.
  Colleagues, for over 50 years, the Clean Water Act has served as an 
essential pollution prevention tool and helped us clean up our nation's 
streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands.
  Clean water is a human right. And it is our shared responsibility to 
ensure we protect human health and our environment for future 
generations. Whether you live in the heartland near the Great Lakes, or 
out west near the incredible Colorado River, we all benefit from the 
federal protections of our waters. As one of the architects of the 
Clean Water Act, John Dingell, wrote and made clear the intent was to 
protect ``all the `waters of the United States.' ''
  Wetlands, rivers, lakes, and streams must be protected and due to the 
2019 repeal of this rule, there have been hundreds of development 
projects that were able to move forward with limited regulation, 
putting our water systems at risk. I would like to thank the Biden 
administration for their leadership on its rule to establish a revised 
definition of the ``Waters of the United States'' to protect our most 
vital natural resource--water.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to oppose this resolution and 
protect clean water for all Americans.
  Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.J. Res. 27, 
which would overturn a recent Biden Administration regulation 
clarifying protection of America's waters under the Clean Water Act.
  Communities in Minnesota and across our Nation need reliable access 
to clean water. Without clean water our communities don't have access 
to safe drinking water, farmers can't grow the food we eat, and our 
nurses and doctors can't clean their hands before a procedure. Clean 
water touches every facet of our daily lives, and our communities 
cannot thrive without it.
  If passed, H.J. Res. 27 would block the latest waters of the United 
States (WOTUS) rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
and the Army Corps of Engineers. The rule that the Biden Administration 
is proposing would broaden definitions of waterways subject to 
protection under the Clean Water Act to include connected waterways 
such as wetlands. The new rule also seeks to provide clarity and 
predictability for famers and developers while protecting our nation's 
water quality and supply. H.J. Res. 27 would block this clarified rule.
  For over 50 years, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to 
protect and restore America's waters using the authorities granted in 
the Clean Water Act. Members of Congress today have a responsibility to 
protect this important legacy. Preserving the health of America's 
wetlands and streams is essential to Minnesota, a state with more than 
10,000 lakes and over 69,000 miles of river. Clean water touches every 
aspect of our daily lives, and Americans cannot survive without it.
  Mr. Speaker, let me be clear, H.J. Res. 27 is an attack on clean 
water in communities all around the country.
  It should be rejected.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 199, the previous question is ordered on 
the joint resolution.
  The question is on engrossment and third reading of the joint 
  The joint resolution was ordered to be engrossed and read a third 
time, and was read the third time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on passage of the joint 
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and 
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.