Joe Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on January 13, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Biden Vetoes Move by GOP, Corporate Dems to Block Water Regulations

"Let me be clear: Every American has a right to clean water," said Biden. "This veto protects that right."

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday vetoed legislation pass by congressional Republicans and corporate Democrats to stop the federal government from protecting public health and the planet, blocking a resolution passed by both chambers last month to gut water protections.

Democratic Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Jacky Rosen (Nev.), and Jon Tester (Mont.) joined former Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and every Republican in the Senate to pass H.J. Res. 27 last week, following the bill's passage in the GOP-controlled U.S. House.

The legislation rejected the Environmental Protection Agency's definition of the "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) that are protected under the Clean Water Act, as "traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters, as well as upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters."

The regulation, introduced in December, is expected to restore protections for millions of marshes and other waterways after the Trump administration wiped out those regulations, permitting increased industrial pollution in nearly half of all wetlands across the country.

Biden's veto, said the president will protect Americans' right to clean water.

Republicans would need a two-thirds majority to override Biden's veto—a level of support they're unlikely to get.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday claimed that a presidential veto would allow EPA officials to regulate pollution "way outside the authority that Congress actually provided in the Clean Water Act," and expressed hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately rule that the government cannot protect navigable waters from industrial pollution.

The veto is the second of Biden's presidency. Last month he vetoed a resolution that attempted to overturn a rule allowing retirement fund managers to consider the impact of their investments on the climate and planet.

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