WASHINGTON —The US Senate passed a resolution on March 29 to repeal the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rules recently defined by the Biden administration.

The repeal was sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who led the 53-43 vote. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jon Tester (D-Mont), Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) joined the effort along with Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ).

“By voting to overturn President Biden’s waters rule, we are sending a clear, bipartisan message that Congress, even a divided one, will defend working Americans in the face of executive overreach,” Capito said. “I’m proud to lead my colleagues in standing up for farmers and ranchers, landowners and builders, and energy and infrastructure workers across the United States. 

Since the resolution also passed the House of Representatives, the measure will now go to the desk of President Biden, who pledged to veto the measure.

Early in January 2023, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers announced the final WOTUS rule, which it said restored essential water protection that was in place before the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA). The rules went into effect on March 20.

Last week, a federal judge ruled that he would halt the WOTUS rule in Idaho and Texas by saying the administration should have waited for the upcoming Sackett v. EPA to be decided by the US Supreme Court.

The high court heard the argument for the case in October 2022 and a decision is expected during the first part of 2023.

Agricultural associations and dozens of states have filed lawsuits seeking to stop the rule.

In one case, the plaintiffs include the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), and US Poultry & Egg Association, among others.

Following the latest measure, the NCBA showed its support for the action by the US Senate. 

“The bipartisan passage of this resolution sends a clear message to the Biden administration that this is not how Congress intended to implement the Clean Water Act,” said Todd Wilkinson, president of the NCBA. “Now, President Biden has a choice: he can sign the resolution and pull back the unlawfully vague WOTUS rule, or he can veto it and turn his back on rural America. I am especially proud of my fellow cattle producers from across the country speaking up to make our voices heard. Together, we wrote more than 1,900 letters to senators calling for a vote on this resolution. Our advocacy made a crucial impact.”