Davis Critical of Biden Administration Rollback of WOTUS rules to Obama Era Definitions

By Benjamin Cox on November 29, 2021 at 8:00am

A local Congressman is critical of a proposal of the Biden Administration to roll back to a policy from the Obama Administration that would directly impact farmers.

13th District Congressman Rodney Davis says that the Biden Administration’s decision to go back to the Obama-era definition of the Waters of the United States, known as WOTUS will create uncertainty for farmers and rural communities on how the Clean Water Act is enforced. Davis says the Navigable Waters Protection Rule established in 2020 under the Trump Administration, known as NWPR, gives parity and certainty to farmers when it comes to being stewards of their own land.

The Obama Administration regulations of WOTUS expanded the EPA’s regulatory jurisdiction to cover ditches, retention ponds, land that is traditionally dry, and other areas. The Trump Administration’s NWPR rolled back the EPA’s jurisdiction after outcry from farmers about some of the definitions in the law. Critics of the Trump rule said that some federally protected waters would become unprotected and be more subject to pollutants. The Trump NWPR was jettisoned by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for Arizona back in August for being equally onerous. The federal court ruling allowed the Biden Administration to reintroduce the Obama-era definitions in WOTUS.

On April 14th, Davis co-sponsored legislation to make the NWPR from the Trump Administration to remain. The Davis-led bill had support from 114 members of Congress.