Western Caucus Members Issue Statements On The Biden Administration’s Revised WOTUS Rule

Washington, August 30, 2023 | Eli Mansour (202 510-8612)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Western Caucus Members released the following statements in response to the Biden Administration’s revised Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

“Rural America celebrated the Sackett decision in May, which forced EPA and Army Corps to amend their WOTUS rule and rein in their blatant overreach,” said Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). “Unfortunately, this final rule skips the crucial step of public input from farmers, ranchers, and industry stakeholders who are forced to comply without their voices being heard. Our constituents deserve regulatory certainty and safeguards from federal government regulations dictating how they use their land. The Western Caucus will continue to be the voice for Rural America to ensure their concerns are heard throughout the implementation of this amended final rule.”

“Despite the Supreme Court’s Sackett v. EPA decision that the Biden Administration’s previous WOTUS definition was illegal and constituted regulatory overreach, the EPA today released a revised WOTUS rule largely disregarding the Sackett decision,” said Vice Chair Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-01). “EPA not only failed to respond to fundamental aspects of Sackett, but it also created additional confusion for the American public. This has been the modus operandi of the Biden administration even after the courts have ruled against them. I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Western Caucus to support our farmers, ranchers, landowners, and businesses as EPA continues to overstep its authority and cause confusion on WOTUS.”

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Sackett was a decisive win for America’s farmers, small businesses, property owners, and those who build our infrastructure. We said from the very beginning that the Biden Administration should have waited on Sackett, knowing how much of an impact the decision could have on their costly, burdensome, and overreaching WOTUS rule. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration’s revised rule barely pays lip service to the Sackett decision. The Court was clear that Clean Water Act overreach is illegal. The Administration is now trying to make Sackett fit with a rule that never should have been issued in the first place. This revised rule ignores fundamental concerns laid out in Sackett and is a missed opportunity to finally end longstanding confusion over what constitutes a WOTUS,” said Rep. David Rouzer (NC-07), Chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, alongside T&I Committee Chairman, Rep. Sam Graves (MO-06).


On May 25, 2023, the United States Supreme Court ruled against the Biden Administration’s WOTUS rule in Sackett v. EPA, limiting the scope of definition of “waters of the United States.” This forced the Biden Administration to amend their final rule from December 2022 to comply with the decision.

The Congressional Western Caucus has long been active in fighting against the burdensome WOTUS ruling, their actions include:

  • On January 26, 2023 Chairman Newhouse sent a letter, along with 195 House Republicans—including the entire Western Caucus, to the Biden Administration urging them to rescind their premature and reckless rule. 
  • On December 30, 2022, Chairman Newhouse and 22 Members of the Congressional Western Caucus spoke out against the Biden Administration releasing a final WOTUS rule—on the last business day of the year—before the Supreme Court has decided Sackett v. EPA.
  • In April 2022, Chairman Newhouse, Rep. Miller-Meeks, and Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13) submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court for Sackett v. EPA outlining the importance of environmental federalism and how a poorly-defined Clean Water Act hinders environmental protections.
  • On March 9, 2022, 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.
  • In January 2022, 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.
  • 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.

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