Washington, D.C. — Today U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement in advance of the Senate considering his bipartisan legislation, the Federal Water Quality Protect Act on Tuesday. The bill would address the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers’ attempt to define the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
Donnelly said, “I am pleased that the Senate will be considering the bipartisan legislation I introduced with a group of senators including Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). No one wants cleaner water or healthier land more than the families who live and work on the land, alongside these waters every day. This bipartisan legislation would ensure the WOTUS rule can be written in a way that makes sense for Hoosiers and all Americans. I am hopeful a bipartisan majority of my Senate colleagues will support this commonsense bipartisan bill.”
Earlier this year, Donnelly and Barrasso led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing legislation to improve WOTUS.
The bill says that the Administration cannot complete the rule without following (1) the principles and (2) the procedural steps in the bill.
- In the principles, the bill includes explicit protections for waters that most everyone agrees should be covered, like navigable waters, drinking water sources, and wetlands that filter out pollutants from our rivers and lakes. It also provides commonsense exemptions for isolated ponds and agricultural or roadside ditches—most of which EPA has indicated they never intended to cover.
- The procedural steps include reviewing economic and small business impact and requiring consultation with stakeholders such as the states and the ag community, including soil and water conservation districts.
Finally, the bill gives a clear deadline, requiring the EPA and Army Corps to complete its rule by December 31, 2016.
The bill is supported by the Indiana Farm Bureau, Simon Property Group, Indiana Corn Growers Association, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Waters Advocacy Coalition, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and many other ag organizations.