The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee included language or “rider” in an annual spending bill that would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. A House appropriations sub-panel gave its blessing to the $37.4 billion spending bill for energy and water programs this afternoon.
The fiscal 2017 Energy and Water spending measure released April 11 by the House Appropriations Committee also boosted the funding for the Army Corps of Engineers by $100 million and contained an additional rider that would block any changes to the definition of fill material.
The WOTUS rule would extend jurisdiction of the EPA and the Corps over many areas previously not considered waters of the United States, and has been the subject of over a dozen congressional hearings.
The WOTUS rider is likely to draw opposition from many Democratic members of the House and NSSGA expects that this rider eventually will be stripped from the bill, most likely immediately before passage, as has been the case with other spending bills containing similar riders. In the absence of legislative action to stop the WOTUS rule, a nationwide stay is currently in place. NSSGA is also currently suing the EPA over WOTUS, based on the rule’s violation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution and other laws. To date, 32 states and several trade associations have joined suits opposing the rule.
The House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the measure tomorrow, while the Senate Appropriations Committee will not vote on its version of the bill until April 14.
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