Obama vetoes Ernst effort to prevent water provision

A judge has blocked implementation of Waters of the United States rules

The Iowa River winds through the Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area on Monday, July 16, 2012. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
The Iowa River winds through the Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area on Monday, July 16, 2012. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Opponents of the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate small bodies of water and streams pledge to continue fighting.

President Barack Obama vetoed a congressional resolution that would have prevented enforcement of Waters of the United States provisions.

“We must protect the waters that are vital for the health of our communities and the success of our businesses, agriculture and energy development,” Obama said in his Tuesday veto message. “As I have noted before, too many of our waters have been left vulnerable.”

A prime mover behind the congressional resolution against Obama’s water rule, Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst from Iowa, said after the veto that everyone wants clean water, but the Obama effort is “about how much authority the federal government and unelected bureaucrats should have to regulate what is done on private land.”

Ernst added: “This ill-conceived rule breeds uncertainty and confusion, while adding more red tape that threatens the livelihoods of many in Iowa and across the country.”

The resolution to dump the rule did not pass with enough votes to override Obama’s veto, but Ernst said she will keep trying.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers finalized the rule in May but a lawsuit filed by 13 states was successful in obtaining a preliminary injunction to block implementation in those states. In October, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order blocking the rule nationwide.


The American Farm Bureau’s report on the rule says that the new rule grants “regulatory control over virtually all waters, assuming a breadth of authority Congress has not authorized.”

Two U.S. Supreme Court rulings did not clarify how far federal water authority extends, so the administration issued the rule.

Supporters say it would reduce burdens on farmers, just the opposite of what many farmers say.

“Rather than work with stakeholders, the president’s veto prevents the opportunity to work together on a new rule we can all support,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said in a statement.



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