January 24, 2020
 Contact:, 202-224-4343


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) released the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final rule on Thursday to redefine “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS):

“For years, I’ve fought to stop government overreach of regulating every puddle and ditch in America, and just like my Defense of Environment and Property Act, this rule implements reforms to get the government off the backs of our farmers and everyone else who owns land,” said Dr. Paul

Like Dr. Paul’s Defense of Environment and Property Act (S. 376), which he has introduced in each session of Congress since joining the U.S. Senate, the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule reins in a federal bureaucracy that has stifled economic growth and opportunity.

President Obama’s burdensome 2015 WOTUS rule significantly expanded the definition of WOTUS to include non-navigable waters, certain dry land, drains, ditches, small ponds, and even depressions in fields that are only wet after heavy rains. 

According to the EPA, the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule restricts federal jurisdiction under WOTUS to four areas, including “territorial seas and traditional navigable waters” and certain “perennial and intermittent tributaries,” while specifying that several other areas, including “features that only contain water in direct response to rainfall,” “groundwater,” and “farm and stock watering ponds,” will not fall under federal regulation.

This will provide much-needed clarity and freedom for Kentucky farmers and others in the Commonwealth’s booming agricultural economy.  Both Dr. Paul’s legislation and the Navigable Waters Protection Rule demonstrate government can still protect the environment while respecting the American people’s private property rights.

You can find a summary of Dr. Paul’s Defense of Environment and Property Act below, and you can read the entire bill below.

S. 376, Dr. Rand Paul’s Defense of Environment and Property Act:

•    Defines “navigable waters” as “navigable-in-fact, or permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water that form geographical features commonly known as streams, oceans, rivers, and lakes that are connected to waters that are navigable-in-fact”;
•    Clarifies the jurisdiction of the EPA and Corps of Engineers;
•    States that “ground water” is State water and not to be considered in asserting Federal jurisdiction;
•    Prohibits the use of a “significant nexus test”; and
•    Prohibits the EPA and Corps of Engineers from creating new rules defining “navigable waters” or expanding or interpreting the definition of “navigable waters” unless expressly authorized by Congress. 




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