Once again drawing the ire of environmentalists, President Trump on Tuesday began to roll back a rule put in place by his predecessor that gave the federal government wide authority over small bodies of water across the country. Mr. Trump signed an executive order that directed the EPA to begin dismantling the “Waters of the U.S.” regulation, which gave the agency, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, power over small streams, lakes, ponds, and other waterways. The Obama-era rule was highly controversial when it was unveiled in May 2015, with conservatives, energy companies, the agricultural industry, and other stakeholders casting it as an precedented Washington power grab. Amid those concerns, a federal court in October 2015 stayed the rule after just a few months in effect. Mr. Trump’s decision Tuesday technically doesn’t take the regulation off the books for good, but it does give clear guidance to federal agencies that they must “review and reconsider” the rule immediately, potentially ending the ongoing legal battle. “EPA’s so-called Waters of the U.S. rule is one of the worst examples of federal regulation. It has truly run amuck,” the president said during a White House ceremony Tuesday afternoon. “The Clean Water Act says the EPA can regulate navigable waters, meaning waters that truly affect interstate commerce. A few years ago the EPA decided that navigable waters can mean nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land, or any place else they decide, right? It was a massive power grab.” In his order, Mr. Trump relied on a legal opinion written more than a decade ago by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In that opinion, Scalia said the “Waters of the United States” should apply only to permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water. Just as Mr. Trump argued Tuesday, critics long have contended that under the Obama administration’s interpretation, the Waters of the U.S. rule could, in theory, be applied to ditches or puddles, though the EPA had denied that claim. The move is the beginning of what will be a broad effort by Mr. Trump to use executive power to undo many Obama administration initiatives on climate change and the environment. The president is expected to soon sign another executive order undoing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the first set of national limits on carbon emissions from power plants.
Yes!! Glad to see some common sense, as it relates to the out-of-control leviathan that is the EPA. From day one here at The Daily Buzz, we’ve called on our federal government to first defund that federal agency, and then abolish it entirely. It’s very existence is unconstitutional, and let’s be clear.. It does NOTHING for our environment. If anything, it causes damage to it! Those of us here in sunny Colorado know that all too well. Just Google: Gold King Mine, and take a good hard look at what the EPA did to a couple of our rivers….and as of yet NOBODY has been reprimanded, let alone gone to jail for that disaster. But, I digress.. We’re excited about this development, and look forward to more of this from Pres. Trump and his new EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. Excellent!! 🙂