Gov. Noem and Colleagues Oppose Biden's WOTUS Rule

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January 30, 2023

Contact: Ian Fury


Gov. Noem and Colleagues Oppose Biden’s WOTUS Rule


PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem and 24 of her fellow Republican governors sent a letter to President Biden saying they oppose his rule regarding the Clean Water Act and the revised definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). You can read the letter here.


“The rule is problematic in and of itself, but its timing is particularly troubling given record inflation and gas prices that threaten the livelihoods of so many communities,” wrote Governor Noem and her colleagues. “Those who rely on farming and small business as a backbone of their local economies are particularly vulnerable.”


The new WOTUS rule creates significant regulatory overreach by the federal government over private land use. It allows the EPA to regulate ditches, low spots, and temporary drainages on agriculture land. This creates additional federal overreach that will result in more South Dakota waters coming under federal jurisdiction. Under this rule, many waters will need a federal jurisdictional review to determine whether or not they are subject to this rule, resulting in uncertainty, delays, and additional costs for property owners.


The governors in their letter questioned the timing and necessity of the rule given the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA, which sets for a test for whether wetlands are “waters of the United States.” This opinion could significantly impact the final rule and its implementation, the governors continued. And the president’s plan could result in changing the rule multiple times within six months, an inefficient and wasteful use of State and Federal resources.


“The substance of the rule hinders State governments as we seek to give clarity and consistency to businesses, farms, and individuals regarding the regulatory framework for water,” continued Governor Noem and the other governors. “The broad definitions used in the 514-page document only add to the confusing and complicated history of WOTUS. In fact, it appears that the EPA is seeking to regulate private ponds, ditches, and other small water features.”


Governor Noem was joined by the following Republican governors in issuing the statement: Idaho Governor Brad Little, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, Arkansas Governor Sarah Sanders, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Utah Governor Spencer Cox, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.