VIDEO: Capito Urges Support for Measure Blocking Misguided WOTUS Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) spoke on the Senate floor today about the need to pass a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act that would nullify the EPA and Corps of Engineers’ Waters of the United States rule, commonly known as the WOTUS rule.

Video of Senator Capito’s speech and the remarks as prepared for delivery are included below.

WOTUS Floor Speech

Click here or the image above for video of Senator Capito’s speech.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Madame President—

“West Virginia is no stranger to the crushing consequences of harmful regulations.

“Our unemployment rate is the highest in the country, layoff notices keep coming and declining coal severance taxes are eroding the state’s budget.

“The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ Waters of the United States rule, known as the WOTUS rule, is just the latest example of a regulatory environment that threatens to put West Virginia out of business.

“Everyone can agree that we must protect our drinking water sources and our precious natural resources.

“But a rule that subjects puddles and ditches to regulation goes too far.

“EPA’s unprecedented expansion of federal authority has very serious consequences both in my state and throughout the country.

“The steep mountainous terrain in West Virginia means that EPA would have oversight over any land located in a valley or low lying area.

“As the West Virginia Coal Association points out, this WOTUS rule would trigger an ‘alphabet soup of statutes, regulatory programs and federal regulatory agencies’ involved in traditionally non-regulated activities.

“Something as simple as digging a ditch on a farm, or building a home on privately owned property could be under the purview of the EPA.

“And a failure to comply with the rule could result in fines as high as $37,500 per day.

“A county commissioner from Monongalia County recently wrote to my office expressing concern that this WOTUS rule would impede the county’s attempts to create developable tracts of land needed to attract large employers to West Virginia.

“And a small business owner in Scott Depot, West Virginia shared her concern that small businesses were not adequately considered in the WOTUS rule making process.

“‘Government regulations, like the proposed rule, are complicated, expensive to navigate and a real obstacle to growing my business. This change, and its ridiculous overreach and restrictions could decrease land value and hinder my ability to expand, develop and use my own private land,’ she wrote.

“There is a reason that 31 states, including West Virginia, are suing to overturn the misguided rule, and two courts have already found it likely illegal.

“Rather than incorporating input from Congress and concerned Americans, this misguided rule doubles down on overreach and threatens to impede small businesses, agriculture, manufacturing, coal and natural gas production and many other vital sectors of the economy.

“The decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to block implementation of the WOTUS rule nationwide confirms that WOTUS was the wrong approach to protecting our water resources and reinforces the need to rein in this administration’s unprecedented and overreaching regulations.

“Along with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I proudly supported Senator Barrasso’s Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would have directed the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw this rule and issue an alternative approach that is crafted in consultation with states, local governments and small businesses.

“The bill we voted on earlier today received bipartisan support from 57 Senators, but only partisan opposition.

“Both Republicans and Democrats supported moving forward on the Federal Water Quality Protection Act because we wanted to offer a real solution that would bring clarity and common sense to the protection of our nation’s waters.

“This legislation would have provided certainty to farmers, manufacturers, energy producers, state and local governments, and anyone seeking to do virtually anything on private land.

“Unfortunately, 41 Democrats stopped a bipartisan majority from considering the bill.

“We now must consider other options to block the misguided WOTUS regulation issued by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers, and I am glad that we will have the opportunity to vote on a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval offered by the Senator from Iowa.

“This resolution would protect hardworking West Virginia families, small businesses, energy producers and others across the country who would be unfairly burdened by the onerous and deeply flawed WOTUS rule.

“The WOTUS rule would lead to a massive expansion of costly permitting requirements and hinder our already struggling economy – an outcome West Virginia simply cannot afford.

“I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this important effort to block the harmful WOTUS rule.

“Thank you, and I yield the floor.”