This week, the Senate finally took up a series of votes on the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ “waters of the United States” rule. A major priority for cattle ranchers and all land-use stakeholders, Montana Stockgrowers has been working aggressively with our Congressional Representatives and Attorney General Tim Fox to repeal WOTUS and limit EPA’s attempt at overreach in controlling our water on private lands.
Earlier this week, the Senate took a vote on SB 1140 – Federal Water Quality Protection Act, sponsored by Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), which failed to obtain the necessary 60 votes to pass. SB 1140 aimed to repeal WOTUS in favor of rules to “protect traditional navigable water and wetlands from water pollution, while also protecting farmers, ranchers and private landowners.”
Montana Stockgrowers Association, along with Attorney General Tim Fox and Montana Chamber of Commerce signed on in support of SB 1140. Senator Steve Daines supported the bill and testified in front of Congress, sharing comments from MSGA President, Gene Curry.
“MSGA thanks Senator Daines for supporting SB 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, and his continued opposition to work to stop the final WOTUS rule. This rule is an unwise and unwarranted expansion of EPA’s regulatory authority over Montana’s waters, and would have a significant detrimental impact on Montana’s ranchers.”
Watch Daines’ testimony regarding WOTUS here. Following the vote, Senator Jon Tester signed on to a letter to EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, encouraging the agency to “provide clearer and concise implementation guidance to ensure that the rule is effectively and consistently interpreted,” recognizing this as something ranchers deserve.
The Senate then turned to consideration of a joint resolution of disapproval sponsored by Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). The vote in support of the joint resolution showed bi-partisan support and the resolution passed 53-44. SJ 22 “would order the EPA and Corps to withdraw the WOTUS rule and would prevent the agencies from further similar rulemaking.” (Farm Progress) The joint resolution must still be considered by the House before going to the President’s desk.
Montana Stockgrowers continues to work aggressively with our state and national leaders to represent the interests of our members on this important national policy. We encourage all MSGA members to attend policy committee meetings during our upcoming Annual Convention for further discussion on this and other important policy topics.
A full Annual Convention agenda and registration can be found on our website at mtbeef.org.