A family from Idaho’s 1st Congressional District is leading the charge toward protecting private property rights and – finally – providing certainty to landowners, businesses, irrigators, and farmers across the country. The Sackett’s are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency before the U.S. Supreme Court for the right to build on their own property in a case that could help determine the much-debated definition of “waters of the United States” – more commonly known throughout rural America as “WOTUS.”
In the Gem State, we understand the important role farmers, ranchers, and private property owners play in conserving our natural resources, which includes protecting clean water. We don’t need the federal government to tell us what we can and cannot do on our land, and we don’t deserve to live in regulatory limbo.
That’s exactly what has happened over the past several years since the Obama-Biden Administration proposed the 2015 WOTUS rule – one of the most egregious examples of federal overreach in our nation’s history. This rule resulted in the federal government claiming jurisdiction over nearly every body of water in the United States – including streams, ditches, and puddles on private lands. To make matters worse, the rule was promulgated without considering the needs of those closest to our resources – who depend on healthy air, clean water, and well-managed lands – who are the best stewards.
In September, Republicans unveiled the Commitment to America, four pillars that lay out the priorities of House Republicans should we take back the majority in 2023. I am committed to working toward a strong economy, a safe nation, and a free future, but one pillar stands out: A Government That’s Accountable.
Families, businesses, and landowners in Idaho and across the United States need certainty and freedom from government overreach. As a Member of the Congressional Western Caucus, a group of nearly 80 Members of Congress who promote policies to support working lands and locally led conservation, I have seen firsthand how federal overreach and bureaucracy harmed rural communities across the country.
I am proud to have worked to fight back by supporting efforts to protect the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), a regulation that finally delivered stability to water users and landowners. The Clean Water Act was designed to encourage state- and locally led water protection efforts, and by ensuring that there is a clear definition of “navigable waters,” we can incentivize voluntary clean water conservation in Idaho and throughout the U.S. Unsurprisingly, one of the Biden Administration’s first actions was to remand the NWPR in an effort to return to the 2015 WOTUS regulations, ensuring that Americans returned once again to limbo.
Fortunately, with Sackett v. EPA awaiting a decision before the Supreme Court, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We are close to being able to provide that much-needed stability once again. I will continue to work alongside my Western Caucus colleagues to delivering certainty and freedom from government overreach because Idahoans deserve a government that’s accountable, and that’s my commitment to America.