The Trump administration EPA announced that they will rescind one of the biggest power grabs by a federal agency in US history.
In 2015, the Obama EPA finalized a rule that would have brought almost all “navigable” waters in the US under federal government control. The “Waters of the US” rule targeted creeks, streams, and inland rivers even if they were on private property.
The rule would have given the EPA jurisdiction not only over the water but over much of the surrounding land as well.
But one of the first acts of the Trump administration was to order a review of the rule with the intent of repealing it.
“The final WOTUS rule issued by the last administration was unworkable, a fact acknowledged by courts around the country, and amounted to a massive grab of regulatory authority by an EPA that was overreaching,” said Bill Kovacs, vice president for environment and regulatory policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“We look forward to working with Administrator Pruitt and his team to craft a rule that protects public health and the environment while giving clarity and certainty to our nation’s farmers and job creators,” he said.
“Today marks the beginning of restoring private property rights while protecting our environment,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.). “Out of state D.C. bureaucrats shouldn’t impose regulations that hurt Montana farmers, ranchers, and landowners.”
The EPA will publish the proposal in the Federal Register within days, at which point the agency will start accepting comments from the public. After considering the comments and making any necessary changes, the agency can make the repeal final.
The WOTUS rule was a spectacular overreach. It would have massively interfered with agriculture, not to mention overturning the entire concept of private property. The gains in drinking water cleanliness would have been minuscule at the cost of a blizzard of paperwork for businesses and farmers.
The Obama EPA sought to use the Clean Water Act for purposes it was not remotely intended to address. It was a power grab by the EPA that would have weakened private property rights while exercising stifling regulatory control. While it won’t receive a lot of publicity, rescinding this rule represents one of the biggest rollbacks of federal power in history.
The dream of greens is that eventually, the EPA will exercise control over every inch of land, every drop of water in the US – a nightmare scenario that was well on its way to becoming reality until the Trump EPA stepped in.
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