Regulation. By definition, it’s a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority. Far too many of these rules invade the lives of our families and inflict negative consequences for hardworking Nebraskans across all industries. One such regulation was the final “Waters of the United States” or WOTUS rule.
Under WOTUS, the federal government would have expanded its jurisdiction to nearly all water in Nebraska and across our country. Everything from a puddle to a ditch on the side of the road could have been under the federal government’s control.
And Nebraskans would have shouldered the cost.
The citizens of Nebraska own the water in our state, and we are the best stewards of our precious water resources. Nebraska does not need the federal government telling the state how to manage our water.
Over the past four years, I sounded the alarm about WOTUS and the negative effects it would have on all Nebraskans. The American dream of owning a home would have been out of reach for many more families due to the higher costs associated with this rule. Taxpayers would have suffered increased costs for road maintenance and construction, and ag producers would have faced expensive, confusing permitting requirements.
But I have good news to report: WOTUS is on its way out.
I was proud to stand behind President Trump recently as he signed an executive order to begin the process to roll back WOTUS. With this order, the president has taken a concrete, much-needed step to unravel this harmful rule and put Nebraskans back in charge of decisions affecting our state’s water resources.
I have long been an advocate for scrapping WOTUS altogether. In March 2015, I hosted a field hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Lincoln, where we heard from Nebraskans about the consequences of WOTUS in their lives. I also championed multiple legislative efforts to eliminate the WOTUS rule while also laying out a plan to clearly define “navigable waterways.” After years of fighting WOTUS, I’m incredibly encouraged by President Trump’s swift action on this important issue.
Despite the progress on the WOTUS front, other burdensome federal rules remain.
Each year, from June 1 to September 15, when many travelers are on the road, the EPA restricts the retail sale of fuels blended with ethanol above 10 percent. Only higher gasoline-ethanol blends that go through extra and more costly refining may be sold to consumers during this time.
Many retailers are forced to change fuels or the labeling on their pumps during the summer months. This creates confusion for consumers and often results in the decision to not sell higher ethanol blends, like E15, since they can only sell these products mid-September until May.
This month, I joined Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and eleven other colleagues from both sides of the aisle, to introduce the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. This legislation would increase market access opportunities for higher ethanol blends by allowing retailers across the country to sell E15 and other higher-ethanol/gasoline fuel blends year-round.
As one of our nation’s largest ethanol producers, Nebraska can provide renewable fuel solutions to meet America’s energy needs. Biofuels give consumers more options at the pump while reducing fuel prices. By expanding fuel options for consumers and removing regulatory burdens that limit the use of E15, our bipartisan legislation would ensure a fair playing field for higher ethanol blends and strengthen our country’s energy diversity.
Government should not make it more difficult for families to own a home, grow a business, or pursue their dreams. Moving forward, I will continue to fight the federal regulations that make life more complicated and costly for Nebraskans.