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Letter to House and Senate Leadership Encouraging Congress to Take Action to Stop Implementation of the Final Rule on Waters of the United States (WOTUS)

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February 3, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell   The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Majority Leader Minority Leader
U.S. Senate U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Paul Ryan The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker  Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 201515


Re: Definition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Minority Leader Pelosi:

We are writing to encourage Congress to take any additional actions necessary to prevent implementation of the final rule promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers that redefines the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

The proposed revision of the existing definition of WOTUS under the Clean Water Act is overly broad. It clearly expands federal jurisdiction and will negatively impact power generators and utilities regulated by NARUC member State commissions.

NARUC is a bipartisan organization that represents the public service commissions in all 50 States and U.S. protectorates that regulate the utilities that provide essential services such as water, energy, telecommunications, and transportation. At the recent July 2016 NARUC Summer Committee Meetings, a resolution was unanimously adopted that specified crucial concerns with the EPA’s final rule:

[E]ntities that fall within the purview of the [NARUC] may be affected by the final rule as a result of the expansion of federal jurisdiction over: 1) pollutant discharges into jurisdictional waters, especially in the oil and gas industries; 2) storm water management related to the construction of new utility facilities; and 3) infrastructure improvements, pipeline construction, and utility crossings in and around jurisdictional waters. 

That resolution is appended to this letter.

The rule was recently held in abeyance by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit pending Supreme Court review. Review by the Supreme Court prolongs uncertainty about the application of the rule.  NARUC respectfully encourages Congress to apply the Congressional Review Act, or other tools at its disposal, to provide clarity by ensuring that this rule is not implemented.

NARUC is committed to working with Members of Congress, the U.S. EPA, the Army Corps of Engineers, industry, environmental representatives, and other interested parties to find a reasonable compromise on defining the “Waters of the United States.” If you have any questions, please contact NARUC’s Legislative Director–Water, Brian O’Hara, at 202-898-2205,, or General Counsel–Brad Ramsay, at 202-898-2207,



Robert Powelson Mary-Anna Holden
NARUC President Chair, NARUC Committee on Water