President Obama vetoed legislation Tuesday that would have blocked the administration’s new regulation establishing federal authority over small waterways such as wetlands and ponds, a rule criticized by Republican lawmakers as a “power grab” by the EPA.
In a message to Congress, Mr. Obama said the new rule “is critical to our efforts to protect the nation’s waters and keep them clean.”
“Because this resolution seeks to block the progress represented by this rule and deny businesses and communities the regulatory certainty and clarity needed to invest in projects that rely on clean water, I cannot support it,” the president said.
The congressional resolution against the EPA’s water rule passed the Senate on a 53-44 vote. Three Democrats joined every Republican except Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, in supporting the measure.
Republicans don’t have the two-thirds votes necessary to override the veto.
Resolution sponsor Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican, called the measure a necessary step against a “blatant power grab by the EPA.”
Opponents said the rule gives the federal government too much authority and would have a negative impact in rural states on energy production and agriculture.
Two courts have ruled against the regulation, and some Republicans predict it will be overturned.