Grassley Warns Biden Administration Against Restoring WOTUS

A longtime foe of the Obama era “Waters of the U.S.” rule warns the Biden Administration against restoring WOTUS, which was replaced by Trump reforms of the controversial rule. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley predicted before President Biden took office that his administration would replace the Trump Navigable Waters Protection Rule that reformed WOTUS, which is still in the courts. Grassley says the reforms protected property rights, preserved clean water, and gave farmers “certainty.”

“I hope the Biden Administration don’t reopen this ‘nightmare’ for rural America. The Biden Administration should avoid imposing unnecessary red tape on farmers to continue to bounce back from the coronavirus impacts,” says Grassley.

Grassley says he has no immediate plans to speak to Ken Kopocis, who helped write the 2015 WOTUS rule under Obama and could be back at EPA under Biden, though Grassley warns again.

“I hope the Biden Administration wouldn’t be stupid to go down that road again. But if they do, I’ll be speaking to him or anybody else that’s involved. And it surely ought to be an issue that we bring up with the new Biden Administration when they come up. Now, I’m not on the committee that’s going to handle his, but there’s going to be rural people that ought to be very much interested in that. And I’ll find out who’s on that committee, at least on the Republican side, and get them to follow up with him,” says Grassley.

Grassley’s strong warnings reflect the widely held belief, Biden will try to overturn Trump’s WOTUS reforms that clarify farm wetland definitions and streamline Clean Water Act compliance. But legal experts say reversal could face lengthy rulemaking, court fights from farm and industry groups, and wouldn’t likely qualify for reversal by lawmakers under the Congressional Review Act.