U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today joined a group of Republicans who took to the Senate floor and highlighted examples of government overreach. Senator Young focused his remarks on the Biden Administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a new rule in December 2022 repealing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) and changing the definition of Waters of the United States in a way that will expand federal regulatory authority.
“The rewritten Waters of the United States rule will make it harder and more expensive for our farmers to help feed the rest of the world,” said Young. “This is not part of an agenda that helps Americans – it’s a bareknuckle attempt to expand the reach of the federal government over their lives and activities.”
Senator Young has been a leading opponent of Democrats’ WOTUS rules since the Obama Administration. Last month, Senator Young cosponsored a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act that would repeal the Biden Administration’s new WOTUS rule.
“Right now, our farmers are asking for clarity, for an even-handed approach to regulation that respects the environment and allows them to grow,” said Young. “If the Biden Administration is serious about strengthening the economy, it will reverse course and give it to them. Rescind this rule.”
To watch Senator Young’s full remarks, click here.
Senator Young’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery:
In recent weeks, the Biden Administration has reassured Americans that our economy is historically strong and their policies are the reason why. But far away from the White House, most people are unpersuaded.
The cost of their bills and the state of their savings don’t match the rosy picture.
There is a reason the rhetoric is so disconnected from the reality: This Administration claims it is investing in America’s economy, but at the same time, it strangles our economy with unnecessary and ideologically motivated rules and regulations.
Just ask Hoosier farmers.
The latest in this deluge of red tape, the rewritten Waters of the United States rule, will make it harder and more expensive for our farmers to help feed the rest of the world.
Look at what they have had to navigate over the past few years: a pandemic, a supply chain stoppage, inflation, increased price of inputs. In an industry so fundamental to America’s prosperity, where margins are razor thin, why would we create even more uncertainty?
Because the priorities of environmental ideologues in Washington are evidently more important than the needs of the people who actually work the land and provide our food supply. This is not part of an agenda that helps Americans, it’s a bareknuckle attempt to expand the reach of the federal government over their lives and activities.
My office recently heard from James Ramsey from Rush County, in the east central part of our state. James and his family farm corn, soybeans, and wheat. They have been farming and maintaining the same land since the 1860s. They also run a small business helping farmers and counties with drainage installation, ditch digging, and land clearing, improving water quality and soil health. They started out doing minor projects in 2008 but have grown since then, acquiring their own wheel trencher and commercial plow.
Through hard work and planning, James, his father, and brother expanded their business. They have clients throughout Indiana and eight employees. It’s a success story – exactly the type WOTUS will interrupt.
James, like many other farmers and small business owners across the country, knows what these newly revised, overly complex rules will accomplish: increased overhead, prolonged permitting processes, slowed or even stopped projects, and, ultimately, laid off employees.
James has never had to let a single employee go because of a lack of business. They aren’t employees, they are family. And they have their own families to feed, mortgages to pay, homes to heat.
One of his greatest fears though is walking into his shop and telling one of his guys he can’t keep everyone because of these new regulations.
If this new definition of WOTUS stands, that’s a strong chance that becomes a reality. Our farmers don’t want to clear the land or harm its creeks and streams. They want to take care of the soil. They want to continue the work their families have done for so long and hope to do far into the future.
They also know quite a bit more about their land than the bureaucrats who wrote this rule. As James pointed out, much of Indiana is not naturally drained. Because it was cleared long ago, rain empties into man-made streams and tile drains. We have the highest percentage of subsurface drainage in the entire nation
Drainage systems are central to the productivity of our farms. Tangling them up with greater federal regulation could be disaster for our agriculture industry.
Farmers like James have been through so much the past few years. And they have hung in there. Now, just when they think they have turned another corner — WOTUS resurfaces. And as James said, there is a real fear these new regulations will have an even greater long-term impact than the pandemic or supply chain crisis.
Right now, our farmers are asking for clarity, for an even-handed approach to regulation that respects the environment and allows them to grow. If the Biden Administration is serious about strengthening the economy, it will reverse course and give it to them. Rescind this rule.