Tomorrow, November 3rd, the Senate is set to take up the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S.1140) a bill aimed at forcing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to go back to the drawing board on the "waters of the U.S." rule, which was finalized in May. The EPA and Corps have faced significant opposition to their updated definition of "waters of the U.S." since the agencies issued proposed guidance back in 2011. S.1140 adds to the momentum of opposition following the recent court decisions to stay the implementation of the rule, by requiring EPA and the Corps to more clearly outline the science and analyses underlying the rule. Opponents, IMA-NA and other industry associations included, see the rule as a unjustifiable jurisdictional land grab that will effectively give the EPA the authority to regulate most of the United States under the Clean Water Act (CWA). There are questions about both the process and science the EPA used in order to draft the rule. S.1140 would force the EPA to revisit the rule and either provide the support for the regulation or alter it in order to reflect the actual parameters of the CWA. The bill was introduced by Senator Barrasso (R-WY) and has supporters on both sides of the aisle.
This bill is the companion bill to H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which passed the House in May. As of now, the bill has 46 cosponsors and it needs 60 votes to clear the Senate.
To read the bill click here.
If you are interested in urging your Senator to support S.1140, click here to find their office contact information.
**Update** - The Senate failed to reach the 60 votes needed for passage of S. 1140. IMA-NA, along with other members of the Water Advocacy Coalition (WAC), signed onto a letter expressing disapproval to Senators King, Nelson, Kaine, Warner, Feinstein, Schatz, Coons, Carper, Tester, Bennet and Klobuchar for voting against S. 1140 while simultaneously expressing concerns over the scope of WOTUS.