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Just Hours After A Separate Attack Failed, The Senate Voted To Overturn The EPA’s Clean Water Rule

Posted by New Leaders Council 4 Admin on November 05, 2015 at 1:50 PM

Originally published on Think Progress on November 4 by Natasha Geiling. 

Almost immediately after failing to pass a bill that would have required the EPA to rewrite its Waters of the United States rule, the Senate voted to advance a measure that would block the rule entirely under the Congressional Review Act.

The resolution, put forward by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), passed with a simple majority vote of 55-43. The resolution earned the support of all Senate Republicans — with the exception of Susan Collins (R-ME) — and three Senate Democrats: Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

The vote came just an hour after the Senate failed to pass a separate bill, sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), which would have nulified the Waters of the United States rule — also known as the Clean Water Rule — and set strict parameters for the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers in rewriting the rule. Under Barrasso’s bill, the EPA would have been required to consult with private industry, as well as local and state governments, in redrafting the rule.

Ernst’s resolution, under the Congressional Review Act, would kill the rule entirely, but it’s unlikely to get much further than the president’s desk, as the Obama administration has already threatened to veto it.

Finalized in May, the Clean Water Rule seeks to clarify the waters that can be regulated by the EPA under the Clean Water Act. The rule, if implemented as written, would expand protection to two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetland. Previous court decisions made it unclear whether or not these waters, which supply drinking water to a third of the country, could be regulated under the Clean Water Act.

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