Legislation to block permanently an Obama-administration rule that seeks to define more clearly federal clean-water jurisdiction is headed to the president. But the White House says he will veto the measure.
The regulation, published last June 29, has raised the ire of construction and other business groups. They contend it would slow down projects and increase their costs. The House on Jan. 13 passed a resolution to strike down the rule. The Senate approved a comparable measure last November.
Environmental groups and other advocates of the joint Environmental Protection Agency-U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rule say it merely clarifies when federal permits are needed for construction in or near wetlands or other bodies of water. Jon Devine, a Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney, said the legislation “would gut this common-sense rule and prevent EPA and the Army Corps from taking future actions to clarify what the law protects.”
Some construction groups have filed lawsuits challenging the regulation. In August, a federal judge blocked the rule from taking effect in 13 states. On Oct. 9, a federal appeals court put a nationwide hold on the rule, pending further court action.
EPA believes it will prevail in the courts. For now, the earlier rule, which had been in effect before the June 29 revision was published, has been reinstated.