The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to block the Waters of the United States rule. The rule would have redefined “waters of the United States” to give government jurisdiction over water bodies like man-made ponds, tributaries, ditches and trenches that could impact resources downstream.
Eighteen states sued the government over the summer and in October, a Cincinnati federal appeals court halted the EPA from implementing the act.
Proponents of the rule said it did not expand the Clean Water Act’s coverage or add new permitting requirements, but opponents are calling the rule a power grab. Opponents were concerned about the impact the rule would have on land use and construction, as well as public and environmental health. The rule also could have required landscapers and LCOs to file permits when working near vastly more bodies of water and impose Total Maximum Daily Load limits on smaller bodies of water.
“Disguised as a water cleanup measure, WOTUS is really an EPA power grab that threatens the livelihood of Americans who work the land to make a living. It would be an economic disaster,” said Speaker Paul Ryan in a statement released after the vote.
Republicans challenged the rule under the Congressional Review Act which allows congress to review major rules issued by federal agencies before the rules take effect.
The bill will now go to President Barack Obama, who has threatened to veto the legislation.