15th District Congresswoman Mary Miller has introduced companion legislation in the House to help farmers and the federal government define the terms of the Waters of the United States.
Waters of the United States or WOTUS are the rivers, streams, and lakes that fall under federal jurisdiction and forms the foundation of the Clean Waters Act enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency.
In 2015, former President Barack Obama published a rule meant to clarify which streams and wetlands fall under federal protection, something that has caused frustration and litigation for the country’s farmers since 1972.
In 2019 by executive order, former President Donald Trump rolled back the Obama era regulations on the rule, calling it both a power and land grab by the former administration. The move was largely praised by farmers and industry groups. In July 2019, Indiana Republican Senator Mike Braun sought to codify the Trump order into law. Braun recently reintroduced the Trump rollback in the U.S. Senate. Miller has sponsored the companion legislation in the House.
The Biden Administration has said that it would re-implement a version of the Obama era rule after the EPA announced it would be initiating a new rule-making process that would restore protections prior to the Obama-era rule and seek to find a better WOTUS definition.
Braun and Miller’s measures currently sit in committee awaiting votes.