11.03.15

Daines Slams Senate Democrats' Failure to Protect Americans from Obama Administration WOTUS Power Grab

Senator Steve Daines today slammed Senate Democrats after all but four members of the Democrat caucus blocked legislation that would have directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a revised Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:

“Today the Senate came just a few votes shy of passing legislation to protect our farmers, ranchers and small business owners from major new costs and regulatory burdens. I appreciate the bipartisan support demonstrated today by four key Senate Democrats and am disappointed that others chose instead to put President Obama’s agenda ahead of doing what’s right. Montanans know that this power grab has more to do with controlling Montanans’ land use decisions than ensuring access to clean water like the Clean Water Act intended. I will continue working to protect Montanans from the Obama administration’s WOTUS power grab and look forward to casting my vote tomorrow to permanently stop this misguided rule.”  

This afternoon, the Senate failed to advance S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act that would direct the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to issue a revised WOTUS rule that protects traditional navigable water from water pollution, while also protecting farmers, ranchers and private landowners. Daines is a cosponsor of S. 1140.

Tomorrow, the Senate will vote on a joint resolution disapproving the WOTUS release. The resolution, which would nullify the EPA’s expanded WOTUS rule, requires a simple majority vote to pass.

Daines’ efforts to stop President Obama’s egregious power grab were applauded across Montana:

Montana Farm Bureau’s Director of National Affairs Nicole Rolf: “The Montana Farm Bureau has been opposed to the EPA’s WOTUS rule ever since it was proposed because it extends federal jurisdiction to most water and even land in Montana and the rest of the U.S. S. 1140 will block implementation of the EPA’s overreaching and harmful WOTUS rule and we thank Senator Daines for his long-standing support of that bill and his work on behalf of Montana’s farmers and ranchers.”

Montana Chamber President and CEO Webb Brown: "If this rule stands, there will be tremendous cost to our states, our economies, and our employers and their employees' families. Under this unprecedented extension of federal power, land and water use decisions will be made in Washington, D.C., far from the affected local communities. Our business, industry, and community members take seriously their collective responsibilities to wisely use and manage water within their jurisdictions We oppose this federal regulatory overreach and thank Senator Daines for his support of S. 1140 and his efforts to overturn this rule.”

Montana Stockgrowers Association President Gene Curry: “The Montana Stockgrowers Association thanks Senator Daines for supporting S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, and his continued opposition to work to stop the final WOTUS rule. This rule is an unwise and unwarranted expansion of EPA’s regulatory authority over Montana’s waters, and would have a significant detrimental impact on Montana’s ranchers.”

Montana Grain Growers Association President Charlie Bumgarner: “If implemented, the final WOTUS rule would have a devastating impact on grain growers across the state. The Montana Grain Growers Association appreciates Sen. Daines efforts to block this rule and his ongoing work to ensure that farmers across the state are not unduly burdened by unnecessary EPA regulations.”

Montana Mining Association Executive Director Tammy Johnson: “The proposed regulation broadens the scope of EPA jurisdiction beyond constitutional and statutory limits established by Congress and recognized by the Supreme Court. In addition to raising serious legal issues, the proposed rule fails to provide clarity or predictability, and raises practical concerns with regard to how the rule will be implemented. The change in scope of federal jurisdiction far exceeds the resources available to implement and will have a substantial effect on our members’ ability to finance and develop new projects or to maintain existing infrastructure and facilities. We applaud Senator Daines for his leadership and sponsorship of legislation that will stop EPA’s power grab.”

Montana Building Industry Executive Director Dustin Stewart: “The EPA’s Waters of the U.S. regulation is an incurably flawed rule that will impact 370,000 miles of ephemeral streams and 18 million acres of land across Montana, negatively impacting farmers, ranchers, homeowners and homebuilders. The Montana Building Industry Association thanks Sen. Daines for once again standing with small businesses to fight overreaching regulations and protect Montanan’s property rights.” 

Montana Petroleum Association Executive Director Dave Galt: “The EPA’s new water rule is an unnecessary expansion of jurisdiction for the federal government. The EPA’s rule will negatively impact all land-use industries including agriculture and energy production. We join a wide-range of Montana groups to support Montana property rights and jobs.”