Rep. Green: WOTUS is About Property Rights 

WASHINGTON—Rep. Mark Green voted to overturn President Biden’s veto of the Congressional Resolution that repealed the Biden administration’s outrageous rewrite of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Rep Green said:

“For 51 years, WOTUS regulations have caused chaos and confusion for farmers, growers, small businesses, manufacturers, builders, local communities, and property owners. It’s time for this nightmare to end. 

“This is about property rights. Once the federal government starts telling Tennesseans they can’t fish in a pond on their own property without a permit, can’t collect rainwater, can’t mow a patch of grass adjacent to a ditch on their own property, or can’t let their cows graze on a field that has accumulated too much water—it’s the end of true private property rights. Farmers can’t be faithful stewards of their land if they don’t have control over it, and Americans can’t be self-governed if every drop of water comes under the control of Washington bureaucrats. This is a matter of private property rights. This is a matter of federalism and self-government. 

“Private property is at the root of our nation's founding principles. Once the federal government erodes private property, it won’t be long until the rest of our rights follow suit. We must stand up for these rights. 

“We must also stand up for the farmers, the ranchers, the builders, and our other business owners that will be most affected by the Biden administration’s outrageous rule. Farmers are some of the best conservationists I know; they are dedicated to leaving the land and water they own better off for the next generation. They are the last group of people on earth that need Washington-knows-best constraints. That’s why I voted to overturn President Biden’s veto of H.J. Resolution 27, a joint resolution that passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. I will never stop fighting for Tennessee’s farmers and growers.” 

Background: 51 years of WOTUS

1972: The Clean Water Act established federal jurisdiction over navigable waters or “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

2006: Justice Anthony Kennedy developed the Significant Nexus Test in a solo concurring opinion in the Rapanos v. United States case.

2015: The Obama administration relied on the Significant Nexus Test for its broad interpretation of WOTUS, increasing ambiguity amongst concerned parties regarding which bodies of waters fall under WOTUS regulations. 

2020: The Trump administration wrote the Navigable Waters Protection Rule which more clearly and narrowly defined the bodies of water which fall under WOTUS. 

2022: Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, a case regarding whether the correct test was used in the 9th Circuit to determine whether wetlands should fall under WOTUS, came before the Supreme Court. It is still currently under review. 

2022: The Biden administration overturned the Trump administration’s rule. The Biden administration’s rule, like that of President Obama’s, creates uncertainty and overly burdensome regulations on American farmers and businesses. 

March 13, 2023: In a bipartisan vote, the House passed H.J. Resolution 27, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) of the Biden administration’s WOTUS rule, by a vote of 227-198. 

March 29, 2023: The Senate also passed H.J. Resolution 27.

April 6, 2023: President Biden vetoed the bicameral and bipartisan H.J. Resolution 27.

April 12, 2023: Biden’s WOTUS rule blocked in 26 states after a federal judge granted 24-state injunctions.