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Obama vetoes attempt to kill clean water rule

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 1/20/2016 Gregory Korte
President Obama in the Oval Office Tuesday as he met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. © Carolyn Kaster, AP President Obama in the Oval Office Tuesday as he met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

WASHINGTON — President Obama issued the ninth veto of his presidency Tuesday, rejecting a congressional resolution that would have overturned federal regulations on clean water.

The Waters of the United States rule, adopted by the Obama administration in 2014, expands the definition of waters subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act. 

"Too many of our waters have been left vulnerable," Obama said in a veto message to Congress. "Pollution from upstream sources ends up in the rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and coastal waters near which most Americans live and on which they depend for their drinking water, recreation, and economic development."

Congressional Republicans tried to use a rarely invoked law known as the Congressional Review Act to overturn the regulation. But they're far short of the two-thirds vote necessary in each chamber to overturn the veto. It passed 53 to 44 in the Senate and 253 to 166 in the House.

The sponsor of the resolution, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said she would continue to look for ways to undermine the rule. 

“We all want clean water," Ernst said in a statement. "This rule is not about clean water. Rather, it is about how much authority the federal government and unelected bureaucrats should have to regulate what is done on private land."

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