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Senate rejects attempt to redo WOTUS

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate on Tuesday afternoon rejected an attempt to move forward with the debate on a bill that would block implementation of the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate on Tuesday afternoon rejected an attempt to move forward with the debate on a bill that would block implementation of the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule.

A wide range of farm groups oppose WOTUS, under which the Environmental Protection Agency would redefine how "waters of the United States" are subject to federal regulations under the Clean Water Act.

Forty-one senators voted against Tuesday's attempt, enough to prevent the bill from a vote on the floor. The bill, which needed 60 votes to receive a full debate, fell three votes short, 57-41.

Most of the votes against it came from Democrats.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., was just one of four Democrats who voted in favor.

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"Any time I show someone from outside North Dakota around our state, I point out the Prairie Potholes, which reinforce how there is water everywhere in North Dakota," said Heitkamp, a strong opponent of WOTUS and a co-sponsor of the bill. "The EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule compromises the work of farmers and ranchers by implementing sweeping rules that fail to distinguish between navigable bodies of water and Prairie Potholes. That's just plain sloppy and potentially devastating for North Dakota's producers."

She said she will continue to push for the bill.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., another critic of WOTUS, also voted for the bill.

"The final rule on the Waters of the U.S. regulates virtually every body of water in the nation," he said. "We're working to rescind the rule, either by de-authorizing it or defunding it."

The next step will be introducing a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to repeal WOTUS, a measure he’s co-sponsoring.

"The Congressional Review Act authorizes Congress by majority vote to repeal actions by a federal agency after a rule is formally published and submitted to Congress," Hoeven office said in a news release. "If the resolution passes, it would stop the EPA's Waters of the U.S. rule from being implemented; however, it is still subject to a presidential veto."

Related Topics: HEIDI HEITKAMPAGRICULTURE
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