President Obama did as expected on Jan. 19 in vetoing the Senate and House passed resolution to keep the EPA from expanding the Clean Water Act with its new waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.
In Obama’s veto message of the congressional action, he suggested the WOTUS rule is necessary for the nation’s water supply to be unpolluted. “Because this resolution seeks to block the progress represented by this rule and deny businesses and communities the regulatory certainty and clarity needed to invest in projects that rely on clean water, I cannot support it,” Obama said.
In his statement, the President also contends that the Clean Water Act as previously enforced means “many of our waters have been left vulnerable” to pollution from “upstream sources.”
Much of the enforcement against upstream sources is targeted at farmers, even though Obama suggests the rule is supportive of agriculture.
The resolution that Obama vetoed was a Republican originated measure to stop the EPA from what has been called “regulatory overreach.” There basically is no chance of a veto override because there aren’t two-thirds majorities to override in either the House or Senate.
Court cases are pending to halt enforcement of the WOTUS rule, and there have been court ordered injunctions against the WOTUS rule.
National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling, in support of the congressional resolution to halt EPA, said, "This resolution would have given us the opportunity to work together on a better rule we can all support. Instead, the future of WOTUS remains in the hands of the courts—which may takes months, if not years, and comes at a considerable cost.”
Bowling repeated a claim that the Government Accounting Office reported “EPA engaged in 'covert propaganda' in an effort to sell the American public on this rule.”
A large majority of agricultural organizations contend that the WOTUS rule will actually cause more confusion about water being controlled under the Clean Water Act and will also cause a huge amount of red tape for farmers. Additionally, the concern is that the EPA will have a large say in what farmers can do with their farmland, especially land that very seldom has any runoff.