Congressional attempt to block Biden rule on protection for some streams and wetlands vetoed
Congress tried to block a new rule that would protect some streams and wetlands. President Joe Biden vetoed that resolution.
Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has the authority to block administrative rules. A majority in Congress voted against the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule, many saying it was overreach. The WOTUS rule is part of implementing the 1972 Clean Water Act.
The reversal would have reinstated he Trump administration’s WOTUS rule. It protected only navigable waters — those big enough to transport commerce.
“And that would leave unprotected huge swaths of waterways that are important for fish and people,” said Chris Wood, President and CEO of Trout Unlimited.
He said this is the third administration to try to come up with a WOTUS rule to satisfy a Supreme Court definition of protected waters. The Obama rule was scientifically appropriate, but was awkward to implement and caused a lot of complaints by farmers and builders among others.
Wood thinks the Biden administration has hit the sweet spot in its ruling.
“And seems to plainly recognize the value that agriculture provides to the country while also seeking to protect our rivers and our waterways.”
The Biden administration rule protects some wetlands and streams, but exempts agricultural land.
Farm groups are still not happy. They say the new Biden WOTUS rule causes confusion for farmers and ranchers. They prefer the Trump rule.
Environmental groups had hoped for a complete reversal of the Trump rule, protecting all wetlands and streams.