LINCOLN, NE (November 19, 2021) – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a redefinition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) within the Clean Water Act. By expanding the definition of WOTUS, he said, the Biden-Harris Administration seeks to broaden its regulatory jurisdiction over the use of Nebraska’s water resources.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has once again disrespected state authority by seeking to expand federal control over water management,” said Gov. Ricketts “The redefined WOTUS rule is blatant federal overreach. It would place a heavy regulatory burden on farmers and ranchers looking to grow their operations and on businesses planning new projects. In 2015, the State of Nebraska successfully sued the Obama Administration for a similar encroachment on our state’s rights. We’ll again consider our legal options as the proposed WOTUS rule moves forward.”
In 2015, the Obama Administration rewrote the definition of WOTUS in an effort to broaden the EPA’s regulatory powers. The State of Nebraska successfully mounted a legal challenge in opposition to the federal overreach. Since taking office in January, President Biden has worked to reassert federal control over states’ water management.
On September 1, 2021, Gov. Ricketts sent a letter to the EPA asserting the State of Nebraska’s authority to manage its own water resources. In the letter, the Governor called for “a definition of WOTUS that provides for limited federal jurisdiction.” “States are best positioned to manage the water within their borders because of their on-the-ground knowledge of the unique aspects of their hydrology, geology, and legal frameworks,” he wrote.
You can read the Governor’s comments to the EPA by clicking here.
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