Senate Urges President to Overturn One of Nation’s Largest Federal Land Grabs

“The message to President Obama is clear: Keep the federal government out of Americans’ backyards.”  

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today welcomed passage of a bill expressing the Senate’s disapproval of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which amounts to one of the largest federal land grabs in history.

“The far-reaching WOTUS rule is a thinly veiled land grab that is detrimental to farmers, ranchers, business owners and landowners across the country. The message from the Senate to President Obama is clear: Keep the federal government out of Americans’ backyards. The president should prioritize rural communities that depend on the land over his aspirations to expand the federal government and sign this bill immediately.”

Yesterday, the Senate voted on a bill (S. 1140) directing the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw this flawed rule and issue a revised proposal. S. 1140, which needed 60 votes to move forward, failed in the Senate. Undeterred, the Senate voted again today on the resolution of disapproval, which only needs 51 votes to pass the Senate. 

Americans across the country are fighting the WOTUS rule, which allows the federal government to regulate ponds, ditches, agriculture water, storm water, and other areas not typically regulated under the federal Clean Water Act. Thirty-one states have filed lawsuits against the WOTUS rule. An October decision by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals extended to all 50 states an earlier injunction from a federal district court that blocked implementation in 13 states, including South Dakota. 

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