Newhouse, Miller-Meeks, Davis Submit Amicus Brief in Support of Landowners in WOTUS Supreme Court Case
"Simply put, the incredible ecological variety throughout the nation makes one-size-fits-all national environmental regulation unworkable."
Washington, April 14, 2022 | Elizabeth Daniels (202-280-8720)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) submitted an amicus brief for the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case, Sackett v. EPA, which could set forth the proper test for determining the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. The Members released the following joint statement:
“Confusion, unpredictability, and litigation have surrounded the scope of federal authority of our nation’s navigable waterways for decades, and as our amicus brief states, Congress never intended to give the EPA jurisdiction over every ditch, puddle, or stream,” said the lawmakers. “As Members of the Congressional Western Caucus and representatives of rural America, we understand that our communities are committed to clean water and conservation, protecting private property, and land-use rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Farmers, ranchers, small business owners, and landowners deserve certainty, and it is our hope that the Supreme Court will finally put an end to this regulatory confusion.”
The amicus brief outlines the importance of environmental federalism and how a poorly-defined Clean Water Act hinders environmental protection by interfering with more effective state, local, and private action. As the brief states, “Simply put, the incredible ecological variety throughout the nation makes one-size-fits-all national environmental regulation unworkable,” and “environmental protection and conservation remain core, traditional areas of state and local regulation.”
The brief also provides a legislative history and analysis of congressional intent: “The Clean Water Act’s history confirms what its text makes clear: Congress did not give EPA power to regulate land like the Sacketts’ under the Act’s permit provisions.”
Click here to read the full text of the amicus brief.
On March 9, Chairman Newhouse, Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (MO-06), and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member David Rouzer (NC-07) led over 200 House Republicans – including every Member of the Western Caucus – in calling for the Biden Administration to drop its plan to expand the scope of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) until Sackett v. EPA is decided by the Supreme Court. Click here to learn more.
Chairman Newhouse and Rep. Miller-Meeks called on the Administration to halt the rulemaking process, based on the Supreme Court’s decision to take up the Sackett case, in January.
Chairman Newhouse hosted Rep. Davis, Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert, and Charles Yates of the Pacific Legal Foundation, one of the contributing lawyers in the Sackett v. EPA case, to discuss the impacts WOTUS has on rural communities and potential implications of the Supreme Court decision. Click here to listen.
When the Biden Administration announced their intention to revise and remand the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, Chairman Newhouse, Rep. Miller-Meeks, Senator Steve Daines (MT), and Senator Joni Ernst (IA) led Western Caucus Members in a bicameral letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jaime Pinkham to express their serious concerns and demand answers about the Administration’s plans to reopen the definition of “waters of the United States.” Click here to read the letter and learn more.
In November of 2021, Western Caucus Members from across the country issued statements in response to the Administration’s proposed rule. Click here to read more.