House approves sweeping GOP water permitting bill

By Miranda Willson | 03/22/2024 06:46 AM EDT

Lawmakers added an amendment in response to litigation over Florida wetlands permitting.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.).

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.) during floor debate Thursday. House Television

The House passed Republican legislation Thursday to modify the Clean Water Act, including with amendments codifying Florida’s wetlands permit program and barring Chinese companies from obtaining federal water permits.

The “Confidence in Clean Water Permitting Act,” H.R. 7023, passed 213-205, with only two Democrats — Henry Cuellar of Texas and Don Davis of North Carolina — voting in favor and one Republican voting against it, Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee GOP leaders defended the legislation, which Democrats and the White House have said would weaken the scope of the 1972 environmental law.


The bill would reduce the ability of environmental groups to sue over a water permit and shift EPA’s system for developing water quality criteria into a formal rulemaking process.