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Senate fails to end debate on Clean Water Rule

The Senate fell short of the votes needed today to stop debate and consider a bill to require the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the Clean Water Rule and rewrite it.

The vote was 57-41 on stopping debate to consider the bill, but 60 were needed to the measure to pass.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., spoke on the Senate floor in favor of S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, saying the EPA’s rule “is the number one concern I hear about in farm country.”

“Over 90 agricultural groups have signed a letter in support of this legislation,” Roberts noted, pointing to lawsuits involving 31 states that challenge the rule.

Environmental groups, however, expressed pleasure that the bill failed to pass.

“The Senate Republican leadership has no plan to help protect the public from water pollution,” wrote National Resources Defense Council attorney Jon Devine in a blog. “Happily, their efforts failed today, as will other attempts to kill the Clean Water Rule that the Senate may vote on this week.”

“Thanks to all the senators who sided with Americans and with their rivers, lakes and drinking water supplies rather than with the polluters,“ said Environment America attorney John Rumpler in a news release.

Earlier today, the White House issued a statement saying President Barack Obama would be likely to veto the measure if it passed.