A draft fiscal 2019 spending bill for the Army Corps of Engineers would repeal the Obama-era waters of the United States rule, ensuring it can't take effect while the Trump administration finishes developing a replacement.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Corps of Engineers have taken longer than anticipated in writing a replacement rule, which would re-define what streams and wetlands fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
The repeal provision is included in the FY19 energy-water appropriations bill released by a House Appropriations subcommittee on Sunday. The subcommittee is due to consider the legislation Monday.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told House appropriators last June that he expected to have a new rule finalized no later than the first quarter of this year, but the agencies have been struggling with responding to comments on the proposed repeal of the Obama WOTUS rule. They are also facing court challenges to a separate move to delay the Obama rule’s effective date until February 2020.
Congressional repeal of the rule would give the agencies more time to finalize the replacement.
The House bill also would fund the Corps of Engineers at $7.28 billion, an increase of $451 million over this year.
The bill would provide $3.3 billion for navigation projects and studies, including $1.6 billion in funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and full use of estimated annual revenue from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, which funds construction and rehabilitation projects on locks and dams.
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