Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision rejecting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) onerous Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulations. All nine justices agreed that the EPA’s expansive regulatory efforts in the case violate the Clean Water Act. The court instead limited the EPA’s authority in a manner consistent with a prior court opinion and an amicus brief filed by Grassley and his colleagues.
“If the EPA had its way, nearly 97 percent of land in Iowa would be subject to onerous federal red tape. You’d have to get permission from Uncle Sam before moving dirt on your own land under this administration’s WOTUS regulations. Farmers could’ve faced steep fines if water pooled in a ditch after a rainstorm because of the EPA’s far-reaching rules. Thankfully, the Supreme Court saw through this federal overreach and unanimously determined that it violated the Clean Water Act. After years of uncertainty, today’s decision is a victory for farmers, builders, landowners and common sense,” Grassley said.
The EPA’s WOTUS regulations redefine what land and water is subject to federal requirements under the 1972 Clean Water Act. While the law references “navigable waters,” conflicting agency guidance and confusion in the courts led to new regulations aimed at clarifying the scope of the law. During the Obama and Biden administrations, the EPA exploited that confusion to significantly expand the reach of the federal law.
Grassley has long been an outspoken critic of the Obama-Biden WOTUS overreach, which has slapped burdensome regulations on Iowa farmers and landowners. He helped introduce the Navigable Waters Protection Act of 2021 to codify a more workable definition put in place by the Trump administration, and he recently urged the Biden administration to halt pending WOTUS rulemaking until the Supreme Court rules on the Sackett case. Grassley cosponsored the DEFINE WOTUS Act, which would limit federal authority to wetlands that abut navigable waters, and filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to adopt a narrower definition of WOTUS from an earlier court decision.