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Harris Statement on New “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

January 23, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC: Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) announced his support of the new “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Under President Obama, the EPA had sought to change regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act to expand federal jurisdiction from navigable waters to include wetlands, farm watering ponds, and roadside and farm ditches that contain water only in response to rainfall. 

President Trump repealed the Obama-era WOTUS rule, and today announced further changes to federal regulations.  The new rule will establish that federal regulation does supersede state regulation of navigable waters, tributaries to those waters, certain lakes, and wetlands adjacent to navigable waters.  However, the rule will establish that federal regulation does not supersede state regulation over areas that only contain water in direct response to rainfall, roadside and farm ditches, farm and stock watering ponds, and converted cropland. 

Rep. Andy Harris made the following statement:

“I support President Trump’s efforts to balance protection of the environment with protection of our farms and rural economy.  Under the new rule, rather than expanding the role of the federal government, states will retain regulatory authority over non-navigable waterways and ditches that fill only during rainfall.  This common-sense approach will help protect our farms from regulations dictated by distant bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.  The new rule will allow farmers and others to focus on providing the food and other products that our country needs, instead of facing the costs and uncertainty caused by EPA lawyers.”