Providing for Congressional Disapproval of the Rule Submitted By the Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency

Floor Speech

Date: March 9, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROUZER. Mr. Speaker, I will note that you are exempt until you are not exempt.

I rise in support of H.J. Res. 27. This is a very important and crucial resolution that we pass. There is no greater example of bureaucratic overreach under the Clean Water Act than the longstanding regulatory ordeal of understanding and complying with the definition of ``waters of the United States,'' or WOTUS, as we call it.

Despite the benefits of the Clean Water Act, its history has been wrought with the tortured past stemming from regulatory headaches and overreach from bureaucrats, all because Congress never defined what a ``navigable water'' is. Many times, this combination has led to uncertainty for individuals and the more formally regulated communities.

The reality is, this resolution is only necessary because of the Biden administration's decision to publish a new definition of ``waters of the United States'' under the Clean Water Act. It is very important that Congress ensures this overreaching definition has no force.

Now, in my mind, regulations should carry out the intent of the law in a simple, easily understood, and transparent manner, leaving no wiggle room for any bureaucrat to substitute their own biases and hijack the process. Unfortunately, that is not the case with this new WOTUS rule.

Put simply, this rule is the equivalent of a nuclear warhead aimed right at our farmers, communities, homebuilders, roadbuilders, and private property owners, among many others. The ramifications of its implementation will be far and wide, affecting the prosperity and economic opportunity of all Americans. As of March 20, that nuclear warhead is going to be launched.

Once the Federal Government has complete control over the definition of a ``water,'' because of an arbitrary and ambiguous definition, it will then have control over everything else that is applied to the land, whether it be application of pesticides or herbicides or the building of a fence or a shed or anything else.

A farmer, homeowner, or any other property owner could be prosecuted for these simple and customary actions because a bureaucrat decides that what they have done affects a ``navigable water.''

So let's be clear. Ambiguity and subjectivity enshrined by an environmental rule are no friends of freedom, the production of food or other goods, or prosperity.

Despite what supporters of the Biden WOTUS rule say, it will do nothing to bring forth certainty and consistency, except for the trial lawyers and radical environmentalists who are most certainly consistent and persistent in their work to use the executive and judicial branches of government to essentially halt the work of, and extort from, those who produce.

I am proud to cosponsor and support this legislation, Mr. Speaker. I encourage my colleagues to vote for it.