T&I Republican Leaders Press for Adequate Public Comment Period on Biden Administration’s Harmful WOTUS Expansion
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) and Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee Ranking Member David Rouzer (R-NC) pressed for adequate time for the public to submit comments and express concerns with the sweeping regulatory changes under the Biden administration’s proposed redefinition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). This action threatens the livelihoods of farmers, business owners and employees, property owners, and others across the country.
Graves and Rouzer wrote to the heads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Agencies) to request an extension of at least 90 days to the current public comment period, set to expire on Feb. 7, 2021, which is significantly limited compared to typical public comment periods for complex rulemakings.
Noting that this expansive regulatory action will have considerable impacts on numerous stakeholders and infrastructure projects, they wrote, “In light of recent Congressional approval of billions of dollars in infrastructure funding, it is essential that a proposed revision to the definition of WOTUS is thoroughly examined before the Agencies move forward with a final rule, as any changes will have significant impacts on the ability to get infrastructure projects completed in a timely and efficient manner.”
Graves and Rouzer added, “These changes will have far-reaching implications for farmers, homeowners, private property owners, manufacturers, small businesses, water districts, and local governments.
These stakeholders need more time to fully understand and analyze the proposed rule to provide the Agencies with meaningful feedback. Furthermore, given the adverse impacts that stakeholders experienced under previous interpretations of WOTUS, it is critical the Agencies implement a comprehensive process to solicit public feedback when initiating a new rulemaking process.”