This joint resolution would nullify a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers clarifying which of “waters of the United States” can be regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
The Clean Water Rule in question protects streams and wetlands, and was published in the Federal Register in June 2015. It came into effect two months later.
The rule broadens the definition of “waters of the U.S.” to expand federal authority over waterways (like tributaries and adjacent waters) that impact the quality of water downstream.
Concerns have been expressed that the definition is so broad that the EPA could regulate irrigation ditches or standing water on private or state property. The rule is supported by many environmental groups, as it would clear up a gray area over what is covered by the CWA — adding two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands.
As a joint resolution, this legislation would have the full force of law if passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the President.