What They Are Saying: We Must Maintain the Navigable Waters Protection Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) introduced a resolution to uphold the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), expressing the sense of the House that clean water is a national priority and that the NWPR should not be withdrawn or vacated. The resolution was introduced with the support of 114 Members of Congress, including 57 Members of the Congressional Western Caucus.

“Clean water is a national priority, and I’m proud to join Rep. Miller-Meeks in supporting the protection of our water sources throughout the United States,” said Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). “The Western Caucus knows local communities are capable of making land use and water decisions far better than a bureaucrat thousands of miles away. Clean water protections are not contrary to economic development, and these efforts don’t have to punish those who live, work, and play throughout rural America. We are committed to maintaining the Navigable Waters Protection Rule because we know that rural communities are dedicated to clean water, and we will continue to lead the way.”

“Under the WOTUS Rule, the federal government would have authority to regulate water on 97 percent of the land in Iowa. This left farmers, ranchers, landowners, and businesses to face confusion and burdensome restrictions on how to use their property,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks. “The NWPR is much more workable and keeps our water and land clean without destroying businesses in the process. I look forward to working with my colleagues to protect our environment while also supporting our farmers and ranchers.”

Since it was finalized in 2020, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule has garnered bipartisan support among diverse industries. See what they are saying about Rep. Miller-Meeks’ resolution below:

“The American Farm Bureau Federation applauds the efforts of Representative Miller-Meeks to support the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which provides a balanced approach to protecting our nation’s waterways and wetlands while providing much needed clarity and consistency for farmers, ranchers and regulators,” said Zippy Duvall, President, American Farm Bureau Federation. “We look forward to working with Congress and the Biden Administration to bring an end to persistent efforts to expand federal power. The NWPR marks a return to respecting states’ traditional authority over land and water resources and avoids the sorts of difficult statutory and constitutional questions raised by prior definitions of Waters of the U.S. It is time to resolve the decades of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction and prioritizes both clean water and clear rules.”

“The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) welcomes Rep. Miller-Meeks’s resolution supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) implementation of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR). Aggregate producers have always held themselves to the highest standards regarding environmental sustainability and stewardship. The NWPR ensures this mission can be achieved while ensuring industry stakeholders like ours can continue to grow and provide the critical raw materials our nation’s infrastructure network depends on while protecting our waters,” said Michele Stanley, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs, National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association. “Aggregates are crucial for infrastructure projects, and the clarity of the NWPR delivers significant environmental protection through uniform enforcement, while allowing operators to understand which waters are federally regulated. Given the attention infrastructure is receiving this Congress as a comprehensive package develops, NSSGA urges the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to continue to support this substantial rule under the Biden administration, and Rep. Miller-Meeks’s resolution reinforces this support.”

“ABC applauds Representative Miller-Meeks' resolution supporting the April 21, 2020, Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” said Kristen Swearingen, Vice President of Legislative & Political Affairs, Associated Builders and Contractors. “ABC believes that as Congress and the Biden administration continue to consider proposals to aid the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, they should keep NWPR intact, as it will prevent future infrastructure projects from unnecessary delays. ABC supported the NWPR that draws clear and predictable lines, resolving confusion and ambiguities regarding federal jurisdiction by clarifying which level of government - federal or state - would oversee project permits so that the U.S. workforce can get back on the job quickly and safely. This commonsense rule is a step in the right direction to modernize American infrastructure while maintaining a healthy environment.” 

“Representative Miller-Meeks’ resolution to affirm the NWPR is more important now than ever in light of the changing politics in D.C.,” said Scott Yager, Chief Environmental Counsel, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “The Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) provides much-needed clarity for cattle producers across the country, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association stands in support of maintaining clear rules so that American cattle producers can continue to build upon a legacy of clean water. The NWPR gives our producers the ability to do both.”

“The business community needs the certainty and flexibility offered by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” said Marty Durbin, Senior Vice President for Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “The U.S. Chamber applauds Rep. Miller-Meeks and the Congressional Western Caucus for introducing this resolution, which supports the water quality and development benefits that the rule provides.”

“The American Exploration & Mining Association supports maintaining the Navigable Waters Protection Rule because it is grounded in science, acknowledges states’ role in regulating and protecting the waters and natural resources within their boundaries, and provides the regulatory clarity that has been severely lacking regarding Clean Water Act jurisdiction,” said Mark Compton, Executive Director, American Exploration & Mining Association. “We commend Rep. Miller-Meeks for her leadership on this important issue.”

“The National Cotton Council supports the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR).  For too long, farmers have operated under a confusing array of regulations, court rulings, and contradictory interpretations from various agencies regarding the jurisdiction and protection of waters on their land,” said Gary Adams, President & CEO, National Cotton Council. “Farmers are seeking regulatory certainty around this issue, and while the NWPR is not perfect, it offers the best opportunity for clarity and certainty in aiding America's farmers to keep the country's waters clean for future generations.”

“Our nation’s home builders construct neighborhoods, create jobs, strengthen economic growth, and help create thriving communities while maintaining, protecting and enhancing our natural resources,” said James W. Tobin III, Executive Vice President, National Association of Home Builders. “Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), home builders must obtain and comply with section 402 storm water and 404 wetland permits to complete their projects. What is most important to these compliance efforts is a permitting process that is consistent, predictable, timely and focused on protecting true aquatic resources… The NWPR strikes a necessary balance between the environmental protection and regulatory certainty and will give the public long overdue clarity.”

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