Scott, Colleagues Call on USACE and EPA to Reconsider Federal Land Grab

WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) and their Senate Republican colleagues on a letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) raising concerns about their pending rulemaking that would redefine the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act, specifically the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

The letter highlights pending litigation before the United States Supreme Court: Sackett v. EPA, a case that could determine the federal government’s jurisdiction over WOTUS.

In the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor, the senators wrote, “We are foremost troubled to see that the proposed rule exceeds the regulatory authority granted to EPA and USACE by the Clean Water Act.  The proposed rule seeks to federalize waters in a land grab that arguably surpasses its 2015 predecessor, improperly encompassing water features traditionally within the sole purview of states, while reverting from the comparative straightforward application of the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule…”

The 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) cited in the letter was issued by the Trump-era EPA. It rolled back the harmful federal overreach created by the Obama-era EPA and respects the role of states. In 2021, Senator Scott became a cosponsor of Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-W.Va.) Navigable Waters Protection Act, a bill that would codify the 2020 NWPR.

In the letter sent earlier this week, the senators state that “the role of the federal government should not promulgate rules for the sake of political expediency, but rather provide regulatory certainty for stakeholders within the bounds of an agency’s respective statutory authority.”

The letter was also signed by U.S. Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Kennedy (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

The full text of the letter can be found here.

Details on Senator Scott’s fight against the Obama-era EPA’s overreach in 2015 can be found here, and the full text of the Navigable Waters Protections Act can be found here.