In 2015, the Obama Administration finalized a rule that expanded the definition of WOTUS—giving the federal government authority to regulate water on 97% of the land in Iowa—and creating confusion and burdensome red tape for Iowa’s agriculture industry and many others. In late 2018, the Trump Administration released a proposed rule to replace the Obama Administration’s 2015 WOTUS rule with a new rule that provides much-needed predictability and certainty for farmers by establishing clear and reasonable definitions of what qualifies as a “water of the United States.” The new Navigable Waters Protection Rule was finalized earlier this year.
U. S. Senator Joni Ernst is on record for trying to abolish the old WOTUS Rule, both during the Obama and Trump Administrations because of how it impacted Iowa farmers and meat producers. Ernst helped to introduce the Define WOTUS Act, a bill to legislatively define the “waters of the United States,” and make a reasonable, workable definition of the term permanent.
Ernst sits on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee which recently held a hearing on both the old WOTUS Rule and the new Navigable Waters Protection rule. She called Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser to testify on the negative impacts of the Obama-era WOTUS rule, and the benefits of the Trump Administration’s replacement, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.
Gaesser had made an earlier opening statement to the Senate Committee.