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S.J.Res. 22 (114th): A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

The President vetoed S.J.Res. 22, a joint resolution that would have voided a rule extending EPA regulatory authority over certain bodies of water. The Senate voted to override the veto, but only managed 52 of the 60 necessary votes to avoid a filibuster.

On June 29, 2015 the EPA and Department of Defense published a rule called the Clean Water Rule. The rule elaborated the definition of the term “waters of the United States” to include certain bodies of water under the regulatory authority of the EPA through the 1972 Clean Water Act. It was put into effect two months later on August 28, but states petitioned in court. On October 9 the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit suspended the rule until further notice.

The EPA wrote that the Clean Water Rule was introduced to “improve implementation of the national Clean Water Act section 404 program.” The section grants the EPA and US Army Corps with authority to regulate waste introduced to “waters of the United States.” In their litigation statement they explained:

“The Clean Water Rule was developed by the agencies to respond to an urgent need to improve and simplify the process for identifying waters that are and are not protected under the Clean Water Act, and is based on the latest science and the law.”

There was backlash to the increased regulation. 18 states petitioned federal court that the rule would “dramatically alter the existing balance of federal-state collaboration in restoring and maintaining the integrity of the nation’s waters.” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IO), who sponsored S.J.Res. 22, denounced the rule as “overregulation” in several press releases.

The rule itself is a six page list of types of waters sorted by their inclusion in “waters of the United States.” The list excludes man-made features such as artificial irrigation and small features that will not drain into larger natural waters such as puddles. You can find the full rule here. For comparison, see the original rule at the bottom of this page.

Last updated Jan 22, 2016. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 13, 2016.

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

This joint resolution nullifies the rule submitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act and published on June 29, 2015.