Senate Approves WOTUS Repeal

With bipartisan support, the Senate passes AGC-backed legislation to repeal a new Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule expanding federal permitting jurisdiction over wetlands and more construction projects, bolstering AGC litigation—which has expanded to 26 states—against the rule. 

On March 29, four Senate Democrats—Sens. Cortez Masto (Nev.), Manchin (W.Va.), Rosen (Nev.), Tester (Mont.)—and Senator Sinema (I-Arizona) joined Republicans in voting for AGC-backed legislation to repeal the Biden administration’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule expanding federal permitting jurisdiction over wet areas and more construction projects. The House passed the repeal measure on March 9. The president is expected to veto the WOTUS rule repeal bill and Congress will not have enough votes to override the veto, thereby keeping the rule in place.    

The significance, however, of such legislation passing both the House and Senate is that it shows the courts that Congress holds that the Administration exceeded its authority under the Clean Water Act in issuing this new rule. When the Senate voted in favor of repealing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 vaccination or testing emergency temporary standard (ETS) in 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court cited that vote as evidence that Congress found OSHA exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the ETS. The Court, in that decision, struck down the ETS. 

On March 19, AGC-backed litigation successfully halted the WOTUS rule from taking effect in Texas and Idaho. AGC recently intervened in a case comprising of 24 states filed in North Dakota to block implementation of the rule in an effort to help even more construction projects. These votes in Congress bolster AGC’s case against the WOTUS rule. 

AGC thanks members who contacted their congressional representatives in support of repeal via AGC’s Action Alert.  

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