(Arlington, Va.) – The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today expressed appreciation for House passage of a resolution to overturn the controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule issued last year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers. Electric co-ops have expressed strong concern that the rule would dramatically expand federal regulation of waterways in a manner that would undermine their ability to build and maintain critical infrastructure.
NRECA commended Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) for sponsoring the resolution (S.J. Res. 22) and House leadership for bringing the measure up for today’s vote.
“Electric cooperatives maintain more than 2.5 million miles of distribution power lines that cover 75 percent of our country’s landmass, including waterways,” said Debbie Wing, NRECA director of media relations. “As it now stands, WOTUS would create permitting requirements for so-called ‘waters’ never previously regulated, such as isolated ponds and places that only contain water after it rains. Requiring permits for these newly-identified waters would increase the time, uncertainty and cost for building and maintaining our transmission and distribution infrastructure.”
The Senate passed S.J.Res. 22 last November. The WOTUS rule currently is subject to a nationwide stay by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.