Hyde-Smith, Wicker: Uphold Trump’s Waters Protection Rule

Published 4:00 pm Thursday, January 28, 2021

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), of Brookhaven, and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) joined a resolution Thursday urging the Senate to uphold the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

The resolution comes as a response to President Joseph Biden’s executive order revoking Trump’s directive to rescind the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule.

“Our farmers, businesses, and communities want and deserve certainty. The Trump administration went through an arduous rulemaking process to fix what was wrong with WOTUS, which was flagrant regulatory overreach by the Obama administration,” Hyde-Smith said.  “This resolution affirms the need for existing, right-sized application of the Clean Water Act.”

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The WOTUS rule expanded the definition of U.S. waterways under the Clean Water Act, giving the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies expansive authority to regulate streams, wetlands, ponds, ditches and other non-navigable waterways.

“Under Pres. Obama’s Administration, agencies claimed unprecedented authority to regulate our nation’s waters,” Wicker said. “The Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule recognizes state control over local waters while still maintaining important protections for our environment. I will continue working to ensure the federal regulatory system is not overly burdensome for Mississippi’s farmers, ranchers and small business owners.”

Wicker has been critical of the controversial rule since it was first proposed, supporting multiple efforts to halt the rollout in 2014 and 2015, and defund it in 2016. He celebrated Trump’s executive action in February 2017.

As a member of the Senate Agricultural Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee, Hyde-Smith worked to rally support among Mississippi’s agricultural interests, business sectors and rural communities to support replacing WOTUS. The effort culminated in the issuance of a new final rule in January 2020.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced the legislation and it is cosponsored by 25 other senators, including Hyde-Smith and Wicker.