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Senator Lankford Statement on the Federal Water Quality Protection Act

WASHINGTON, DC—  Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued the following statement on the Senate Democrat filibuster of the Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S.1140), a bill that Lankford co-sponsored. In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final “Water of the United States” (WOTUS) rule that would drastically expand their definition of navigable waters, well beyond the intention of the 1972 Clean Water Act. S.1140 would protect homeowners and farmers by directing the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to revise the WOTUS rule to exclude small bodies of water such as isolated ponds, ditches, agriculture water, storm water, and other similar streams without enough flow to carry pollutants to navigable waters.
“We all want clean, safe water in our rivers, lakes and streams, but the EPA’s actions through their extreme interpretation of the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule goes well beyond clean water,” said Lankford. “Our goal is to protect homeowners, farmers and small businesses from years of unnecessary litigation caused by this new interpretation. We should protect America’s navigable waters without having the EPA involved in isolated ponds, ditches, or puddles after storms. The Senate must take the steps necessary to protect private land owners and stop the EPA from expanding their federal authority.”
Senate Democrats filibustered S.1140 and will not allow cloture to be invoked on the motion to proceed to the bill, which requires a 60 vote majority. This move prevents the Senate from debating the bill. The Senate will now consider a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution on the WOTUS rule. The CRA allows Congress to disapprove of any new rule within 60 days of Congress receiving the rule.
In August, Lankford and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) sent a letter to the EPA to seek further clarification regarding compliance for the WOTUS rule. Lankford was a cosponsor of a Senate resolution to nullify the expanded WOTUS definition.